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U.S. Dairy Aids Eco-Friendly Farming with New Initiative

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy recently announced a “Net Zero Initiative” which the organization describes as “an industry-wide effort that will help U.S. dairy farms of all sizes and geographies implement new technologies and adopt economically viable practices.”

“The U.S. dairy community has been working together to provide the world with responsibly-produced, nutritious dairy foods,” said Chairman of Innovation at the Center for U.S. Dairy Mike Haddad. “With the entire dairy community at the table – from farmers and cooperatives to processors, household brands and retailers – we’re leveraging U.S. dairy’s innovation, diversity, and scale to drive continued environmental progress and create a more sustainable planet for future generations.”

The effort, which U.S. Dairy says represents a collaboration of dairy organizations, is an integral part of the group reaching its Environmental Stewardship Goals. These include reaching carbon neutrality, improved water quality by optimizing manure and nutrient utilization, and optimized water usage by 2050, the organization said in a press release

“Many of the practices and technologies needed to reach the industry’s goals largely exist but require further research and development and overall greater accessibility across farms of all sizes and geographies. Through foundational science, on-farm pilots, and development of new product markets, the Net Zero Initiative aims to knock down barriers and create incentives for farmers that will lead to economic viability and positive environmental impact,” the company said in the release.

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy was established in 2008 by dairy farmers and works to facilitate a platform of shared social responsibility among the industry. Additionally, it represents the dairy industry’s promise to provide nourishing dairy foods that unite people and facilitate a greener future. In 2008, U.S. Dairy was the first organization in the food agricultural industry to administer a national full life cycle assessment which revealed that its U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were just 2 percent of emissions nationwide, according to its site.

“As part of a 5th-generation dairy farming family, we pride ourselves on sustaining our land, caring for our animals and preserving our business for the next generation,” said Tara Vander Dussen, a New Mexico dairy farmer in the press release on the Net Zero Initiative. “We want to be at the table, testing new practices and accessing innovative technology to go further, faster. Because in the end, we all want the same thing – a healthy planet for our families and our children.”

In the same announcement, U.S. Dairy revealed a multi-year partnership as well as an up to $10 million commitment with Nestle that the organization says will help fund the initiative and make eco-friendly practices and resources more accessible to farms country-wide. 

Supporting and enabling farmers through the Net Zero Initiative has the potential to transform the dairy industry,” Nestlé USA’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Jim Wells noted in the release. “Scaling up climate-smart agricultural initiatives is key to Nestlé’s ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will help reduce the carbon footprint of many of our brands. We are excited to collaborate with U.S. dairy and our suppliers to contribute to an even more sustainable dairy supply chain.”

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