• Dairy’s Path to Greenhouse Gas Neutrality Featured at International Conferences

    By USDEC Staff November 22, 2022

    The U.S. dairy community continues to make investments for the future of food. Thanks to dairy farmers’ relentless use of careful management and adoption of innovative practices, milk is being produced in the United States in an especially efficient way that nourishes people but also helps protect our planet. One example of this, U.S. Dairy’s bold journey to greenhouse gas (GHG) neutrality, was showcased at the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) 21st World Congress of Food Science & Technology in Singapore early this month.

    IUFoSTPicture1 COP27Picture2

    The theme of this year’s global conference was Future of Food: Innovation, Sustainability & Health. Dr. Frank Mitloehner, professor and air quality specialist at University of California-Davis, presented on The Path for Climate Neutrality in the Dairy Sector as part of a conference session on Pathways to Sustainable Nutrition: Consumer Voices and Dairy’s Journey. In particular, Dr. Mitloehner examined the distinctions of methane and carbon dioxide in warming the atmosphere, which is explained in the video Rethinking Methane. Dr. Mitloehner also addressed how dairy could contribute to global solutions to address climate change such as via methane reductions from feed additives.

    For generations, the U.S. dairy community has implemented best farming practices and used technology and advanced management techniques to reduce the environmental footprint of milk production and processing. U.S. dairy farmers have a long history of being excellent stewards of their land and animals, protecting and conserving natural resources and optimizing cow comfort. Milk and dairy product processors in the United States are also fully invested in efforts to optimize water and energy use, reduce GHG emissions and turn waste into value.

    Consider this sustainable supply chain:

    • The United States is a leader in global herd efficiency, producing four times more milk per cow than the average global cow. The nutrition in milk offers key nutrients essential to human health and U.S. suppliers offer a wide portfolio of high-quality ingredients that can be incorporated into local foods and cuisines to add value and enhance taste.
    • To maximize nutrition, U.S. dairy cows eat a specially designed diet formulated to provide optimal nourishment while also providing benefits across the food chain. Cows’ ability to consume materials that humans can’t digest, like byproducts from food processing, such as citrus pulp and almond hulls, minimizes the waste associated with food production.
    • Innovative practices such as installing anaerobic digesters on some U.S. dairy farms converts methane from manure and food waste into a source of renewable energy. The remaining liquid can be used as fertilizer for farm crops and remaining fiber can be used for animal bedding.


    Adopting progressive farming practices like these contributed to a 2019 FAO report milestone. From 2005 to 2015, North America (where the U.S. is the primary dairy producer) was the only region in the world to increase milk production while also reducing absolute emissions, making its GHG intensity for dairy products the lowest in the world. Further reductions were measured in 2017 when the production of 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of milk involved 30% less water, 21% less land, and a 19% smaller carbon footprint than in 2007.

    U.S. dairy’s key contributions to global climate and food security goals were also showcased at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt this month. The U.S. Dairy Export Council supports major agricultural climate initiatives like Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, and the Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation. Involvement in these organizations emphasizes U.S. dairy’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact further while continuing to fulfill the industry's critical role in a more sustainable global food system.

    U.S. dairy ingredients are nutritious, functional and innovative solutions that nourish global consumers deliciously and sustainably. This passion across the supply chain positions U.S. Dairy to help food and beverage manufacturers worldwide capitalize on the growing demand for more nutritious and delicious products made from socially, environmentally, and economically responsible sources.

    Visit ThinkUSAdairy.org and follow our LinkedIn business page for further information on U.S. Dairy and inspiration for innovation.

    Milk Dairy Resources Global Sustainability GHG Methane
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