Dairy Industry Releases 2013 Sustainability Report

10:33AM Jun 19, 2014
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The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy released its 2013 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report this morning, showing gradual but continual improvement in identifying energy savings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. You can read the full report here

For example, DMI worked with dairy producers to complete another 188 dairy farm energy audits last year. The total number of completed audits is 667 since the program was started in 2011. Since that time, the audits have identified 55,500 million btus in potential energy savings on these farms and the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 11,500 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

In addition, 12 more methane digesters have gone into operation on U.S. dairy farms, bringing the total number of digesters on farms to nearly 200. Since 2011, the digesters have generated more than 7.6 million btus of renewable energy and have reduced GHG emissions by 4.7 million metric tons. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly one million cars off the road.

While GHG emissions from dairy farms represent only 2% of the nation’s total, the dairy industry has committed to reducing even that amount by 25% by 2020. The entire DMI news release follows:

Rosemont, Ill. — The Innovation Center for U.S Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, today announced the publication of the 2013 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report. In the report, the Innovation Center outlines its progress to measure, communicate and improve the social, environmental and economic performance of the dairy industry. This progress has helped strengthen dairy’s role in a sustainable food system.

"Together, we can meet the challenge to provide nourishing dairy foods and beverages to a growing population while facing a changing climate and finite natural resources," said Tom Gallagher, CEO of the Innovation Center and Dairy Management Inc.™, the nonprofit organization that manages the dairy checkoff. "We are building partnerships, sharing knowledge and taking collective action to develop innovative, sustainable solutions that will help us meet this challenge efficiently and responsibly."

Since the Innovation Center’s inception in 2007, steps the industry has taken include:
• Completing a series of comprehensive life cycle assessments to understand the environmental impacts of dairy products from farm to table
• Piloting a set of science-based Smart Tools to help the industry measure, manage and improve on those impacts
• Developing the Stewardship and Sustainability Guide for U.S. Dairy to provide a voluntary framework for tracking and communicating the industry’s continuous improvement

A focus on food waste
Forty percent of all food produced in the U.S. is never eaten. Meanwhile, 49 million Americans are food-insecure. A 21st century sustainable food system must not only increase production with limited resources, but also address food waste and inefficiencies. The U.S. dairy industry is focused on developing partnerships that enable a cycle of feeding people first, then feeding animals and finally returning the nutrients to the land that grows our food.

Delivering a range of healthy choices
Through individual and collaborative efforts with the Innovation Center, National Dairy Council® and Dairy Management Inc., dairy food companies, retailers and brands invest significant resources in nutrition research and product innovations that meet the needs of consumers. Through new product development and reformulation of existing products, dairy foods and beverages can meet a range of tastes and nutrition and health needs, as well as address other factors such as price and convenience.

Wholesome milk starts with a cow’s healthy diet
To keep cows healthy and productive, dairy farmers work with animal nutritionists to combine ingredients that meet the nutritional requirements of their cows. Thirty-five percent of a cow’s feed is grown on the dairy farm, and the rest is usually sourced from local farmers and businesses. In addition, after producing food and beverages (such as orange juice) and material (such as cotton) for people, many companies pass along to dairy farmers the leftover, unused plant parts for use as nutritious feed for cows.

Healthy people, healthy products, healthy planet
Efficiency will be critical for increasing the world’s food production by an estimated 70 percent to feed a projected global population of 9.6 billion people by 2050. At the same time, responsibility is critical for assuring customers and consumers that the dairy foods and beverages they enjoy are nutritious, safe and environmentally sustainable.

Through the Innovation Center, the dairy industry is committed to action so that together, we can provide consumers with the nutritious dairy products they want, in a way that makes the industry, people and the earth economically, environmentally and socially better — now and for future generations.
Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a forum for the dairy industry to work together pre-competitively to address barriers and opportunities to foster innovation and increase sales. The Innovation Center aligns the collective resources of the industry against common priorities to offer consumers nutritious dairy products and ingredients, and promote the health of people, communities, the planet and the industry. The Board of Directors for the Innovation Center includes dairy industry leaders representing key producer organizations, dairy cooperatives, processors, manufacturers and brands. The Innovation Center is staffed by Dairy Management Inc™. Visit USDairy.com for more information about the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy