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DFA sets 10-year goal to reduce GHG emissions by 30 percent


September 16, 2020
By Dairy Farmers of America

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Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy co-operative owned by family farmers, has announced a step forward in its commitment to sustainability as it becomes the first U.S. dairy co-operative to set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

As a co-operative invested in the dairy supply chain from farm to table, DFA is taking a strong position by setting a science-based target and committing to reduce both direct and value chain GHG emissions by 30 percent by 2030, from a base year of 2018.  By having their targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), DFA is supporting the Paris Agreement’s broader goals to keep global warming below 2 C. Additionally, DFA’s target is aligned with work of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and its goal for the U.S. dairy industry to become carbon neutral or better by 2050.

“Our dairy farm families have always been great stewards of the land and environmentally focused, because it protects the land for future generations,” says David Darr, senior vice-president and chief strategy and sustainability officer at DFA. “While the entire dairy industry from farm to manufacturer only contributes about two percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, we know it’s imperative to keep doing better and making improvements. So, we’re proud to take action and set this science-based target, which will help us further reduce our carbon footprint and do our part in taking care of our planet.”

To reduce climate impact and reach its science-based target, DFA, its businesses and its farm family-owners will work across its supply chain to reduce GHG emissions on farms, in processing plants and on the road. Key strategies to achieve the target include:

  • Mitigating methane emissions from cows by supporting advances in feed efficiency, herd nutrition and feed additives designed to reduce emissions;
  • Using renewable energy methods, such as solar panels and wind power, on our farms and in our plants;
  • Utilizing anaerobic digesters, which convert manure and food waste to energy, on farms and in plants;
  • Capturing emissions through healthy soil and crops;
  • Creating transportation and hauling efficiencies to reduce emissions;
  • Exploring innovative technologies and solutions to reduce emissions and promote environmental stewardship.

In addition to these efforts, DFA is exploring emerging technologies and working with other industry partners, such as Vanguard Renewables, a Massachusetts-based renewable energy developer, to benefit farm family-owners’ operations and reduce GHG emissions.

“In addition, we’re also looking at some innovative solutions to reduce food waste with startup companies, so there’s a lot of excitement for how we can continue to accelerate our sustainability initiatives,” Darr says.

“On our farms, in our facilities and on the road, our journey to continuously improving our social responsibility efforts takes a holistic approach. We are committed to developing solutions that reduce or eliminate carbon emissions, feed people around the world and help communities thrive.”