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USDA & U.S. dairy industry announce agreement


December 22, 2009
By Marg Land


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December 16, 2009,
Rosemont, IL – The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Innovation Center for
U.S. Dairy have agreed to work jointly in support of the U.S. dairy industry’s
goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent over the next decade.


December 16, 2009,
Rosemont, IL – The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Innovation Center for
U.S. Dairy
have agreed to work jointly in support of the U.S. dairy industry’s
goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent over the next decade.

In a landmark memorandum
of understanding (MOU), the USDA and the industry-wide dairy group identified a
variety of projects that can help the dairy industry achieve those greenhouse
gas reduction goals and increase its financial and environmental
sustainability.

Under the agreement, the
USDA will take a number of steps to help farmers, including supporting a
strategic research plan to help the industry further reduce environmental
impacts. Other initiatives would help the industry develop future technologies,
advance nutrient management, support renewable energy, and improve energy
efficiency.

Potential outcomes of the
MOU include accelerating opportunities to adopt livestock manure processing
systems that capture methane gas from livestock manure and convert it into
electricity, coordinating research information on life cycle assessments, and
supporting the industry’s efforts in energy audits, feed management and energy
conservation.

The MOU between USDA and
the Innovation Center may also help accelerate adoption of methane gas
digesters for all sizes of dairy farms, making it easier to connect digesters
to electricity grids and help digester operators capture potential carbon
offset payments. Additional support from the USDA could include research on how
feed mixtures affect methane emissions from cows. Opportunities to reduce
so-called enteric emissions have been identified by dairy stakeholders in the
Innovation Center’s industry-wide plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.


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