What was the catalyst to join the Greener Cattle Initiative and how does it support or complement the goals of the Dairy Net Zero Initiative?
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy jointly developed the Greener Cattle Initiative with FFAR to support research on enteric methane mitigation from ruminants. Consumers value sustainably produced foods and farmers recognize the value in leveraging research investments to solve complex issues affecting the dairy community and its stakeholders. The Greener Cattle Initiative is an attractive mechanism to collaborate across the value chain to develop and test tangible solutions for enteric methane mitigation to support the Dairy Net Zero Initiative. This initiative is critical for the dairy community to meet its environmental goals because enteric methane is an important contributor to dairy’s greenhouse gas footprint.
Why is methane reduction such an important component of combatting climate change?
Enteric methane is an important source of greenhouse gas emissions from milk and beef production systems that contributes to climate change. Enteric fermentation is the second largest source of methane emissions, after natural gas and petroleum systems and the second largest source of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the United States after nitrous oxide emissions from managed soils (US EPA, 2021). Enteric methane mitigation is not a novel field of research, but many options so far explored are not effective or require more research. Therefore, mitigating enteric methane emissions is a major focus of farmer-led voluntary efforts by the dairy sector in the United States to meet environmental stewardship goals announced publicly in the “U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment.”
How can partnerships between organizations like FFAR and the Innovation Center for US Dairy advance innovation in agriculture?
Public-private partnerships represent the most attractive opportunity for strategic collaboration to address challenges facing the development of enteric methane mitigation options in a coordinated effort. Partnerships are critical for identifying mitigation options and encouraging action by dairy sector participants while continuing to improve the availability of safe and nutritious milk and dairy foods. The opportunities for collaboration include research, measurement, education, technology transfer and adoption, creation of new business models and markets and financial and reputational recognition. The Greener Cattle Initiative is expected to award up to 5 million dollars in research grant funding within the next 5 years that will contribute to advancing the voluntary greenhouse gas reduction goals established by both the United States and global dairy sectors.
About the Author
Juan M. Tricarico, Vice-President for Sustainability Research at Dairy Management Inc.
Juan M. Tricarico is Vice-President for Sustainability Research at Dairy Management Inc. His work focuses on sustainable milk production to support the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to drive trust and sales in milk and dairy foods. Tricarico holds a PhD in Animal Science from the University of Kentucky, is Past-President of the Council of Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) and serves on various committees related to agriculture and dairy.