Research helps shrink dairy’s carbon footprint

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Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are working to help dairy farms reduce their greenhouse gas emissions though studies looking at what animals eat, how their waste is handled and the effects on soil, water and air.

Carbon Footprint According to the Australian Associated Press, the work of these researchers is part of a government-sponsored effort to help dairy farmers reduce their carbon footprint and assist them in adapting to more extreme weather.

In addition, the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy is developing a computer program that producers can use to compare their water consumption, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions to the national average.

See, “Scientists help farmers make dairies green.”

The dairy industry has already made major progress in reducing its carbon footprint. Read more.

Internationally recognized air quality expert Frank Mitloehner told those attending the Vita Plus Dairy Summit last month that the industry has made impressive strives in reducing dairy’s impact on the environment.

“The carbon footprint of a glass of milk is two-thirds smaller today than it was 70 years ago,” he said.

Help on the heels of national media blaming cows for the bulk of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Mitloehner warned that it’s time for those in the industry to reach out to the media and general bulic.

“If they don’t hear from you, they will hear from PETA” and other activist groups, Mitloehner said. “I really think you have to step forward and meet that challenge of telling people where their food comes from.”

Click here to read, “Greenhouse gas: Another reason to connect with consumers.”

An ambitious five-year, $10 million USDA-funded effort to identify dairy production practices that minimize greenhouse gas emission, d by officials at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and involves researchers and extension staff from seven universities, five federal labs of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy and the checkoff-funded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy,  was announced in June 2013.  

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Scott Sanford    
Madison, WI  |  January, 06, 2014 at 09:29 AM

One doesn't need to wait to start determining ways to reduce farm energy use or use renewable energy! There are already on-line computer tools to aid farmers in trimming their energy use and reduce greenhouse gases that were developed by or for the USDA. The Energy Estimator tools can be found at and the Energy Self-Assessment tools (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy estimation) are at Scott Sanford - University of Wisconsin

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