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Global Dairy Industry to Pledge Emissions Cuts

dairy cow2Dairy industry associations are poised to promise emissions cuts with the coming signing of the Global Dairy Agenda for Action (PDF) during the World Dairy Summit in Berlin, Germany. The document will be signed by seven international dairy associations Sept. 24.

The amount of the emissions cuts has not yet been announced.

In exchange for the pledge, the Global Dairy Agenda for Action will ask governments to provide a regulatory environment that recognizes the important economic, social and environmental contributions of the dairy industry, according to a press release.

From production of feed for dairy cows to processing, packaging and distribution of milk, the dairy industry will address various ways to cut emissions, said Richard Doyle, President of the International Dairy Federation.

“It makes good sense to reduce GHG emissions – it saves money and improves efficiency in production,” Doyle said.

The Global Dairy Agenda for Action aims to:

  1. Promote the development of a standard methodology framework for assessing the carbon footprint of milk and dairy products based on robust science.
  2. Promote adoption of world’s best practices within the global dairy sector and actions that lead to the reduction of global GHG from dairy production on a per unit of production basis; promote the use of technologies and methods that improve the processing and distribution efficiency of dairy product; and, optimize economic, environmental and social outcomes for global dairy stakeholders.
  3. Advance the establishment of tools to facilitate measurement and monitoring of emissions on-farm and in dairy manufacturing.
  4. Promote improved farmer understanding of agricultural emissions and opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on farm.
  5. Support sharing information and aligning research efforts to develop cost effective mitigation technologies for both on farm and manufacturing applications

The declaration is being signed by Eastern and Southern African Dairy Association (ESADA); European Dairy Association (EDA); Pan-American Dairy Federation (FEPALE); Global Dairy Platform (GDP); International Dairy Federation (IDF); International Federation of Agriculture Producers (IFAP); Sustainable Agricultural Initiative Platform (SAI Platform).

This pledge is just the latest in a line of announcements from the dairy industry that are aimed at cutting emissions, including methane, from dairy operations.

In one of the more strange examples, Tesco is now monitoring the flatulence of its herd of dairy cows at its Dairy Centre of Excellence in an effort to lower their methane emissions. The herd of Holsteins has been fitted with “burp collars” that will monitor stomach sounds with the help of motion sensors to see if different feeds can cut emissions.

By 2020, the U.S. dairy industry hopes to cut by 25 percent annual greenhouse gas emissions related to the production of fluid milk, according to the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which represents nearly 70 percent of the dairy supply chain. The center says such a reduction is equivalent to removing 1.25 million cars from the road.

The center’s board has representatives from 30 companies, including Dean Foods, HP Hood LLC, Kraft Foods Inc., Land O’Lakes, Hilmar Cheese Co., Leprino Foods, Shamrock Farms, Dairylea Cooperative Inc., Anderson Erickson Dairy and Dairy Farmers of America.

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