Aug 29, 2014
Home| Tools| Events| Blogs| Discussions| Sign UpLogin

Economic Sense

RSS By: Matt Bogard,

Matt's primary interest is in the biotech industry and ag policy.

Got (Green) Milk?

Jun 27, 2009
By Matt Bogard

Another example of the 'Invisible Green Hand' at work. This time in the dairy industry. See link from Science Daily  here.


"The study shows that the carbon footprint for a gallon of milk produced in 2007 was only 37 percent of that produced in 1944. Improved efficiency has enabled the U.S. dairy industry to produce 186 billion pounds of milk from 9.2 million cows in 2007, compared to only 117 billion pounds of milk from 25.6 million cows in 1944. This has resulted in a 41 percent decrease in the total carbon footprint for U.S. milk production."

This is just one more example why we really may not need climate change legislation.Left on its own, the market is producing the incentives and the technology necessary for increasing output while utilizing fewer resources ( and reducing emissions).

The current Markey-Waxman  ( Cap and Trade) legislation, narrowly passed in congress, in theory is supposed to put a price on carbon and provide the incentives that will encourage more such innovation. But in reality, it has become so overloaded with regulations that it will not be effective at either harnessing market forces or reducing emissions.  ( for a more thorough discussion see Knowledge Problem here). 

A better approach for dealing with climate change or any environmental problem is to develop resilient market based economies that are able to invest in the technology necessary to adapt to ever changing resource constraints. We know that this works, becuase we see it everyday in the agriculture industry through better management and technology. 

Capper, J. L., Cady, R. A., Bauman, D. E. The environmental impact of dairy production: 1944 compared with 2007. Journal of Animal Science, 2009; 87 (6): 2160 DOI: 10.2527/jas.2009-1781
Log In or Sign Up to comment


No comments have been posted, be the first one to comment.

Receive the latest news, information and commentary customized for you. Sign up to receive Dairy Today's eUpdate today!

The Home Page of Agriculture
© 2014 Farm Journal, Inc. All Rights Reserved|Web site design and development by|Site Map|Privacy Policy|Terms & Conditions