You are here
Dairy leaders yesterday revealed plans for an industry-wide initiative to reduce fluid milk's carbon footprint, while increasing business value, from farm to consumer.
The plan came out of the industry's Sustainability Summit for U.S. Dairy, an unprecedented gathering of 250 leaders representing producers, processors, non-governmental organizations, university researchers, and government agencies, held in Rogers, Ark. June 16 to June 19.
The plan focuses on operational efficiencies and innovations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring financial viability and industry growth, said dairy officials.
"Sustainability is a challenge that requires industry-wide solutions, and our efforts establish a new standard for industry collaboration," said Thomas Gallagher, c.e.o. of Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI), the nonprofit organization that manages the national dairy checkoff program on behalf of America's dairy producers.
"Decision makers from across the dairy value chain are working together to commit to concrete, innovative solutions," he said. "This will ensure an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable industry."
Summit attendees recommended the industry:
-- Reduce energy use in the milk supply chain by developing technologies for next-generation milk processing on the farm and in the plant.
-- Establish a mechanism to optimize returns to the dairy industry from a carbon credit trading system that encourages the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
-- Reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency for dairy farmers and processors through financially viable best management practices and tools that calculate individual farm energy and alternative energy opportunities.
-- Supply green power to communities by expanding the use of methane digesters.
-- Stimulate development of low-cost, low-carbon, consumer-acceptable packaging.
-- Reduce cooling costs and emissions associated with refrigeration by expanding economically feasible, environmentally responsible, and consumer-accepted dairy products.
Leading these sustainability initiatives along with DMI are the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), representing processors and manufacturers; and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), representing dairy cooperatives.