U.S. dairy farmers have been leading environmental stewards for decades, tending their animals, land and water with great care. Thanks to new technologies and evolving best management practices, the environmental impact of producing a gallon of milk requires less water, less land and has a smaller carbon footprint than ever before. In 2008, U.S. dairy became the first in the food and agriculture sector to conduct a full life-cycle assessment. Results showed that dairy contributes just 2% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.S. dairy community remains committed to progress, in 2020 launching the Net Zero Initiative to achieve industrywide neutral or better carbon emissions, optimize water usage and significantly improve water quality by 2050. The Net Zero Initiative seeks to make technology and best practices more accessible and affordable to dairy farms of all sizes and in all regions.
Dairy farmers can provide solutions to many of today’s biggest environmental challenges, including carbon emissions, nutrient management, soil health and water quality. Industry collaboration, plus support for the research and adoption of new technologies and practices, makes dairy well-positioned to achieve its goals.
U.S. dairy farmers and their cooperatives are committed to advancing dairy’s effective stewardship of natural resources and building a sustainable future. NMPF supports voluntary industry-led sustainability initiatives such as the Net Zero Initiative, and other industry and public-policy efforts that move dairy forward.
NMPF supports the bipartisan and bicameral Growing Climate Solutions Act, which encourages sustainable farming practices by making it easier for farmers to participate in carbon markets, as well as the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act, which would create an Investment Tax Credit to cover the upfront capital costs of methane digesters and nutrient recovery systems.
NMPF continually monitors regulation and legislation affecting how dairy producers handle the environmental impacts of their operations. NMPF’s engagement ensures these operations are not burdened by unnecessary requirements that could hinder farm viability.
In addition to water quality issues, NMPF also monitors regulations and legislation affecting federal air quality standards to ensure that dairy farms are not burdened by unnecessary requirements that could hinder farm viability.