USDA renews sustainability efforts with dairy industry

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USDAUSDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, left, shakes hands with Tom Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management, Inc., at a signing ceremony at the White House on Wednesday. “Significant resources” will be committed to helping dairy producers become more environmentally sustainable over the next several years, now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has renewed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the dairy industry.

Since signing the first MOU in December 2009, nearly 180 awards have been made to help finance anaerobic digesters. Additionally, during this period, USDA awarded approximately 140 REAP loans and grants to help dairy farmers develop other types of renewable energy and energy-efficiency systems. Also, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has provided $257 million in funding since 2009 that has helped more than 6,000 dairy farmers plan and implement conservation practices.

Those types of efforts will continue.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was reluctant to put an exact dollar figure on it.

“We are willing to commit significant resources,” he said.

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"No producers have been more out-front on these issues than the dairy producers," Vilsack said. 

"The dairy industry has always been proud of being the original environmentalists," said Dairy Management Inc. CEO Tom Gallagher, who appeared with Vilsack at a signing ceremony at the White House. (Dairy Management Inc. manages the national dairy checkoff program.) 

The MOU supports the dairy industry’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by the year 2020.

Dairy industry officials will use a University of Arkansas study as the scientific baseline for measuring progress against that goal. For more on that study, click here and here

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Batavia, NY  |  April, 25, 2013 at 06:18 PM

Dairy farmers are against the Renewable Fuel Standards since it requires ethanol production. And dairy farmers were also against the subsidy of ethanol production when it was in effect. But now dairy farmers are supporting subsidies to build anaerobic digesters? Is that right? Or did I miss something here? Dairy farmers are now once again in support of a subsidy? Wow!

Ed & Emma    
MA  |  April, 26, 2013 at 03:44 AM

When Vilsack leaves, I hope he takes Gallagher with him...his track record for fluid milk sales does not justify his fat private industry he would be long gone!!

WI  |  April, 27, 2013 at 08:18 PM

I agree with Ed and Emma. Mr Gallagher would not have made it 1 year in the private industry with that kind of record for promotion. The trouble in government is when you get a deadbeat that does not perform and get results they get promoted to a position to what Mr Gallagher has and you suck on the system and don't contribute anything and no one fires you. That promotion house needs to get cleaned out from the top down!

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