Sustainability on the farm begins with understanding and recording what happens in the business and how those activities contribute to the operation’s carbon footprint. During the July 21 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream, Newtrient’s Jamie Vander Molen broke down the pie chart of emissions on the dairy farm and shared a few examples of marketing opportunities related to each area.
“There are four different areas of the farm that we focus on when we think about the overall footprint,” Vander Molen said. “If you look at manure handling, that’s about 33% of the footprint. Through changes like anaerobic digestion into biogas and the technologies to capture some of the nutrients we talked about, there are things there that you can find opportunities to participate in some markets.”
Feed production and crop practices make up another 26% of the farm’s footprint. Vander Molen highlighted no-till, cover crops, and renewable fertilizers as a few ways to address this portion of the carbon footprint.
“Then there’s the cow care piece, which is about 34% of the footprint of the farm,” Vander Molen shared. “With things like feed additives, there’s potential to participate in markets and optimize feed rations and genetics.
“On-farm energy efficiency and renewable energy are about 5% of the farm’s footprint. There are opportunities through LED lighting, variable speed vacuum pumps, and a lot of different areas within this section that farms can make improvements to,” she continued.
Most importantly, to address the farm’s carbon footprint and take advantage of eventual advantages of potential carbon credit markets, Vander Molen recommended tracking farm practices and improvements.
“There are lots of plays that farms can make to participate in future markets. I would say the most important thing for a farm to do right now is to ensure they are recording everything they do,” she concluded.
To watch the recording of the July 21 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is now also available as an audio-only podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.
An ongoing series of events
The next broadcast of DairyLivestream will be on Wednesday, August 4 at 11 a.m. CDT. Each episode is designed for panelists to answer over 30 minutes of audience questions. If you haven’t joined a DairyLivestream broadcast yet, register here for free. Registering once registers you for all future events.