USA – Snack foods major Bel Brands USA has teamed up with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) to launch a sustainable milk cooling programme designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The companies intend to implement and measure sustainable cooling practices, in an effort to cut energy usage and reduce the carbon footprint on dairy farms.
The 12-month pilot programme will see the companies support the adoption of the energy-efficient milk cooling methods – such as natural well water-cooling practices – by a dairy farm in Iowa that supplies milk to Bel Brands.
While Bel will co-finance the cooling mechanism; DFA’s sustainability team will work with the Iowa farm to gather data on the energy and economic savings of these practices compared to high-energy flash chillers.
Ultimately, in the future, Bel and DFA intend to implement these new cooling methods on other US dairy farms to ensure sustainability throughout the supply chain.
Crop production and animal health are critical to the health of the people and the planet, and the changing climate can have impacts on both.
According to a study by US National Sciences Academy, each degree-Celsius increase in global mean temperature would, on average, reduce global yields of wheat by 6.0%, rice by 3.2%, maize by 7.4%, and soybean by 3.1%.
This presents serious food security challenges as these three crops provide up to two-thirds of human caloric intake.
Meanwhile, a study on the impacts of climate change on animal agriculture by the Univesity of Minnesota revealed that US livestock industry suffers economic losses of up to US$2.4 billion per year as a result of heat stress, with the figure expected to rise even further as the climate deteriorates.
Addressing these impacts requires investment in farm animal innovation to reduce the environmental footprint of each step of the production process.
“At Bel Brands, we are actively working to promote sustainable farming, including responsible dairy production – and have for over 15 years – to help drive a more sustainable and regenerative agriculture industry,” said Bill Graham, CEO of Bel Brands USA.
David Darr, senior VP and chief strategy and sustainability officer at DFA, added: “For our farm families, animal care and environment stewardship are a way of life. We are proud to be part of a programme that is aligned with those values and helps further support our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Earlier this year, DFA partnered with Good Culture to establish the Path to Pasture programme, which focuses on using regenerative farming practices to create a more sustainable pasture-raised milk supply.
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