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White House Cites Dairy Sector’s Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gases as it Releases Voluntary Methane Program

April 4, 2014

More than five years ago the dairy industry, working through Dairy Management Inc.’s Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, launched an unprecedented effort to measure and reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

Late in March, the White House formally cited those efforts in announcing its own plan to reduce potent methane gas emissions from a variety of sources. Methane is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on dairy farms.

The Obama administration’s Biogas and Energy Roadmap will work with dairy farmers to voluntarily adopt systems that both reduce environmental risks and increase revenues for participants. These include recycling manure into products like fertilizer and energy and recovering nitrogen and phosphorus from soil.

Among other things, the roadmap will give farmers access to resources to reduce environmental risks, increase research into technologies that extract nutrients from food waste and manure, and attract investment to help the dairy industry become more sustainable.

“This announcement validates the dairy industry’s path, which is focused on incentives to increase farm income, rather than punitive regulations that would add more costs,” said NMPF President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Mulhern. “Because of our efforts and dairy farmers’ long-standing environmental stewardship, the White House strategy for agriculture includes cost-effective, voluntary actions to reduce methane emissions.”

In 2009, the dairy industry established a voluntary goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2020.