Spring has arrived, the weather is warming (though not too much, we hope), and Earth Day is April 22. Dairy always has reasons to celebrate Earth Day (or Week, or Month — we have enough reasons to carry the season), an opportunity to refocus on its environmental and climate leadership within agriculture in the U.S. and worldwide. Here are a few of them, courtesy of our colleagues at Undeniably Dairy.
- Due to innovative farming and feed practices, a gallon of milk in 2017 required 30% less water, 21% less land and 19% smaller carbon footprint than in 2007.
- According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, since 2005 North America was the only region in the world that reduced its greenhouse gas emissions, even as it increased milk production, making its greenhouse gas intensity for dairy products the lowest in the world.
- Dairy farms are a powerful tools against food waste by diverting byproducts (such as almond hulls, citrus pulp, and brewer’s grains) from other food industries and using them as feed, converting potentially unused resources into high-nutrient foods and beverages. Dairy farmers can also convert food waste and manure into valuable products such as renewable energy and fertilizer.
- U.S. dairy has set a goal to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050, creating a cross-industry Net Zero Initiative that advances research, on-farm pilots and new market development to make sustainability practices more accessible and affordable to farms of all sizes and regions.
All these facts are important to know. But maybe you want to dig deeper. Maybe you need some uplifting reading … or some social media content to share … to help you become an influencer. If that’s the case, could we suggest these helpful links, sharing stories about dairy’s stewardship of the planet and the farmers who care for them? These are just a start.
- Farmer Focus: Medeiros Holsteins
- Dairy Defined: We Don’t Care What They Say, We Won’t Stay in a World Without Cows
- Dairy Defined Podcast: U.S. Dairy Exports a Sustainability Success, USDEC’s Harden Says
- Farmer Leadership Inspires FARM Innovation
- How Cows (and Worms) Can Make Dairy a More Sustainable Solution
- It’s Only Waste if You Waste It: Unlocking the Full Potential of Cow Manure
The list could go on and on – and we intend to keep adding! So grab a glass of milk and be glad you’re consuming the perfect nutritional complement to an important date on the calendar this week. Sustainability solutions are worth celebrating — and not just on Earth Day. It’s what dairy seeks every day.
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk, making NMPF dairy’s voice on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit www.nmpf.org.