California Dairy Farms Reduce Environmental Footprint

California Dairy Farms Reduce Environmental Footprint

Tim Hammerich
Tim Hammerich
News Reporter
With California Ag Today, I’m Tim Hammerich.

Cattle are often criticized for their environmental impact. But what does the data say? Well, a new study published in the Journal of Dairy Science finds the climate footprint of milk production in California has been significantly reduced over the past five decades.

Here’s Denise Mullinax, Director of the California Dairy Research Foundation.

Mullinax… “The environmental footprint of milk and dairy production in California has really significantly reduced in the last 50 years. So the researchers looked at the time period from 1964 to 2014 and we have made drastic improvements across the board in California dairy over that 50 year period.”

Mullinax points to factors such as better nutrition, increased reproduction efficiency, and improved farm management as some of the reasons for the changes.

Mullinax… “I do believe that cattle have gotten a bad rap when it comes to climate efficiency. Certainly the research that has recently just been completed shows that we've actually. Decreased our greenhouse emissions by, you know, more than 45% we have become more efficient in our water use. We've decreased our water use by like some 88% and even the amount of land that we're utilizing now to produce the same amount of milk and nutritious dairy products has decreased over time.”

Dairies also upcycle by-products that might otherwise end up in landfills.

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