Sustainability & Stewardship
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle U.S. Dairy Style
Even though they have a long history of responsible land, animal and resource stewardship, U.S. dairy farmers and processors continue to improve. Investing in technology and implementing advanced management practices is increasing efficiency and reducing U.S. Dairy's environmental impact, minimizing water use, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. Watch this video to see specific examples of U.S. dairy farmers reducing their carbon footprint.
Reducing waste, and turning it into value
One byproduct of U.S. dairy farms with sustainability potential is cow manure, a natural fertilizer that also converts into a renewable energy source. Nutrient-rich cow manure fertilizes croplands to improve growth yields of crops for people and animals alike. One cow produces 64 liters (17 gallons) of manure per day. That's enough fertilizer to grow 25 kilograms (56 pounds) of corn or 38 kilograms (84 pounds) of tomatoes.
The U.S. dairy industry takes sustainability one step further to create additional value from manure. Anaerobic digester systems convert manure and commercial food waste into electricity, fuel for cars and trucks, fiber and, of course, fertilizer. The result translates into combined revenues and cost savings of US $200 per cow per year.
See how methane digester technology helps farmers implement sustainable practices:
Water conservation is a key opportunity area. At dairy farms, water is re-used many ways-from running through piping to help cool the milk to flushing barns as part of cleaning and irrigating crops. And since about 87% of milk is water, with the help of new technologies, processors find ways to recover and reuse it when cheesemaking and milk powder drying is complete.
U.S. Dairy is working with the wider U.S. agriculture community to invest in practices improving soil health and avoiding/capturing carbon emissions. Dairy farms across the U.S. are increasingly adopting these practices such as conservation tillage, diverse crop rotations, and cover crops to improve soil health. Click here to learn more.