News and Information Related to Sustainability in Dairy
A collection of articles relevant to dairies and their environmental impact.
$3 Billion for Climate-Smart Practices on Agricultural Lands Available
For fiscal year 2024, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of over $3 billion of funding, as part of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, for conservation assistance to agricultural producers and forest landowners. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will assist in the implementation of conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, or provide benefits for other natural resources through soil health, water quality, air quality, and pollinator and wildlife habitats.
Mapping ways to reduce methane emissions from livestock and rice
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently published the report, “Methane emissions in livestock and rice systems. Sources, quantification, mitigation and metrics.” Focusing on the mitigation of methane, the report narrows in on the 32% of anthropogenic methane resulting from enteric fermentation of rumination and the 8% from rice paddies. This report provides an overview and analysis of methane emissions in livestock and rice systems, focusing on sources and sinks, methods of measurement, mitigation strategies, and evaluates the metrics that can be used to measure both emissions and effects of their mitigation.
Assurance Watch: GHG accounting landscape benefits from U.S. dairy leadership
Ambitious GHG goals have been set for the dairy industry in response to pressure faced by companies to quantify their GHG emissions, including accounting on-farm emissions through the use of GHG estimation modeling tools. Organizations like the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) are advocating for a seat at the table to ensure GHG governance is feasible for the dairy industry. The U.S. dairy industry is investing into these estimation tools to ensure the next generation of models are practical and functional for on-farm use.
John Deere and DeLaval form Strategic Partnership for Sustainable Milk Production
John Deere and DeLaval have partnered up to develop the Milk Sustainability Center (MSC), a digital system created to help farmers improve the efficiency and sustainability of their operation. MSC applies a holistic approach, collecting on-farm data for both crop production and animal performance. Producers can compare their data to other dairy operations and pin-point key areas of improvement.
GCI-funded research aims to reduce enteric methane emissions
The Greener Cattle Initiative, GCI, has recently awarded additional grants to help fund research for innovations in reducing enteric methane in cattle. One award received by Roderick Mackie, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, will be used to study the affects of hydrogen dynamics on enteric methane production from differing diets and feed additives. Another award received by Francisco Peñagaricano, assistant professor in the Animal and Dairy Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be used to study selective breeding for methane traits within the cattle genome.
Beef-on-Dairy: A Revolution in American Beef Production?
The growth of beef-on-dairy production has played a significant role in the U.S. beef industry. Not only does the increased use of beef genetics in dairy cattle have dual benefits in the dairy and beef production stream, but this strategy also creates a more sustainable animal. Compared to purebred dairy cattle, beef-on-dairy cattle have greater feed efficiencies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions without compromising the quality of beef and milk products.
New Dairy and Livestock Enteric Methane Reduction Research Program – Proposals Now Being Accepted
The California Department of Food & Agriculture announced the acceptance of proposals for its new 2023 Livestock Enteric Methane Emission Reduction Research Program until November 1, 2023. Currently, enteric methane accounts for 35% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the agriculture and forestry sector. Funded research focusing on solutions to reduce enteric methane has the potential to play an important role in slowing the affects of climate change.
USDA allocates $65M to conservation grants
The USDA recently announced it would make $65 million available to producers through its Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). In efforts to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners face the challenges of climate change through science and innovation, CIG will allocate $50 million towards the CIG On-Farm Trials initiative and $15 million towards the CIG Classic. NRCS sees this round of grants unique due to it’s increased amount of funds from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and focus on enteric methane reduction.
Start-up Fighting Cow-Burped Methane Raises US$29M in Series B Funding
CH4 Global Inc., a climate tech company, aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the animal agriculture sector through their signature product, Methane Tamer. Fed as an additive, Methane Tamer uses red seaweed (Asparagopsis) to reduce 90% of methane emissions produced by cattle and feed energy lost to methane emissions. Raising $29M U.S. dollars, CH4 Global Inc. will use its funds to build and validate the CH4 Global EcoPark facility to produce Methane Tamer at scale, providing affordable access of the product to farmers globally.
Brightmark and Chevron Achieve First Gas Milestone with Florida’s Largest Family Dairy
Chevron and Brightmark have teamed up to partner with Larson Family Farms in Okeechobee, Florida to produce a lower carbon-intensity transportation fuel through dairy renewable natural gas (RNG). Using four anaerobic digesters, captured methane, is converted to RNG from dairy manure and remaining manure solids are used as organic fertilizer. The Larson project shows there are climate-smart practices available, and continuously growing, in the dairy industry that can be both environmentally and economically viable.