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Secretary Vilsack commends dairy industry


September 27, 2010
By Manure Manager

September 23, 2010,
Washington, DC – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently commended U.S.
dairy farmers and processors for their commitment to economic and environmental
sustainability following the unveiling of a landmark carbon footprint study of
the U.S. fluid milk sector.

September 23, 2010,
Washington, DC – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently commended U.S.
dairy farmers and processors for their commitment to economic and environmental
sustainability following the unveiling of a landmark carbon footprint study of
the U.S. fluid milk sector.

“American agriculture can
play an important role in reducing carbon emissions and improving the
environment, and the dairy industry in particular has been a leader on these
issues,” Vilsack said. “This carbon footprint study will be very helpful to all
stakeholders in the dairy industry and I look forward to working with dairy
producers, processors and the entire value chain on efforts that benefit the
environment and improve the economic viability of the industry.”

The fluid milk carbon
footprint study, the first of its kind for a U.S. agricultural product, was
presented on September 22 at the International Food Life Cycle Assessment
Conference
. The study is the dairy industry's initial step in a comprehensive,
science-based approach to measure and improve its carbon footprint. It will
provide a scientific basis to identify research needs and enable the industry
to identify and measure management practices and technologies that are most
effective in increasing productivity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Together with data from additional studies, the carbon footprint study
indicates that total U.S. dairy greenhouse gas emissions are approximately two
percent of total U.S. emissions.

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The Innovation Center for
U.S. Dairy
commissioned the University of Arkansas' Applied Sustainability
Center
to conduct the fluid milk carbon footprint study. It is a life cycle
assessment (LCA) that measured the greenhouse gas emissions created from the
production of milk – from when crops are grown to feed cows all the way to the
disposal of the milk carton by the consumer. One of its key findings is that
the increased adoption of best management practices along the entire fluid milk
supply chain can increase profitability while improving environmental
sustainability.

Last December, USDA and
the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy signed an MOU to work together on
sustainability issues and to reduce the industry's carbon footprint. The U.S.
dairy industry has a long history of environmental stewardship. According to
Cornell University, the carbon footprint of milk production dropped by 63 percent
between 1944 and 2007 as a result of production efficiencies, nutrition
management and other on-farm improvements.

More information about the
U.S. fluid milk carbon footprint study is available at
www.usdairy.com/sustainability.


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