Three national dairy organizations — Dairy Management Inc.(DMI), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IFDA) have launched a new comprehensive sustainability initiative that will encourage industry innovations, improve environmental performance and position the industry for future marketplace demands.
“The dairy industry recognizes the growing number of people who care about the health and environmental impact of the products they buy,” says Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer of DMI, which manages the national dairy producer checkoff program. “We must do all we can to ensure that consumers know that the dairy industry is committed to improving their lives, both nutritionally and environmentally.”
The initiative will identify key supply-chain innovations that, as part of a comprehensive sustainability effort, can help position dairy as a preferred product among the rapidly increasing number of socially-conscious consumers. Among the focus areas of the effort will be identifying opportunities to reduce energy consumption and costs in milk production and processing, as well as boost on-farm income opportunities in emerging “green” energy markets.
This initiative will help identify opportunities for dairy farmers to generate additional revenue from emerging energy markets through methane capture and other innovations. By working together, dairy producers and processors can further demonstrate our industry’s commitment to healthy people and a healthy planet. Through this effort, DMI, NMPF and IDFA will identify best practices and opportunities for innovation in production, processing and marketing of milk and milk products.
“We are at the dawn of a new era in the food retailing industry,” Gallagher said. “This ground-breaking, checkoff-supported effort will help us tap the ingenuity of our industry and guarantee that we can continue to produce a highly nutritious and sustainable product for American consumers.”
“The dairy industry’s commitment to sustainability is a win-win-win,” according to Gallagher. “By working together, we can identify opportunities to cut energy costs, produce ‘green’ energy and develop a deeper connection with consumers and retailers.”
As part of the initiative, the three dairy organizations have begun efforts to analyze the carbon footprint of milk, from production on the farm, through processing and retail distribution, to consumption. This analysis will help identify potential innovation opportunities and possible best practices that can reduce energy use and increase sales in the dairy supply chain. After calculating milk’s carbon footprint, this life cycle analysis will be subject to a peer review process to develop a manuscript for publication in a scientific journal.