The Dairy Alliance (TDA), a non-profit organization funded by southeast dairy farm families, is launching a 35-minute documentary spotlighting the dairy industry’s sustainability efforts and innovation in a push towards the industry’s 2050 greenhouse gas neutrality goals The documentary titled, The Dairy Truth, will be available for public viewing via YouTube on September 19th, timed to the first day of Climate Week. Through the Net Zero Initiative (NZI), U.S. Dairy is working with commercial and non-profit partners to identify, implement and scale new technologies and economically viable practices in feed production, cow care, energy efficiency and manure management on farms of all sizes. The documentary will immerse viewers into the many industry efforts and innovations that are being adopted as they continue their commitment towards sustainability.
“Dairy farmers in the Southeast have been caring for their animals and the environment long before the word sustainable became mainstream,” said Mekenzie Panhans, Assistant Director of Sustainability and Industry Communications at The Dairy Alliance. “In efforts to quantify the environmental impact of producing a gallon of milk, the dairy industry conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) in 2008-the first in food agriculture at a national scale-that concluded the industry accounts for less than 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Most people would be surprised by this statistic and that is why The Dairy Alliance works on behalf of Southeast dairy farm families to share dairy’s essential role in a sustainable food system.”
The Dairy Truth follows multiple dairy industry leaders and environmental experts as they detail the innovations and technology the industry is leveraging to become greener. Leatherbrook Holsteins, a Georgia dairy farm that is leading the way in dairy farming innovation, is just one example. As the first dairy farm in the state of Georgia to implement their own Methane Digester, Leatherbrook Holsteins is paving the way towards sustainable opportunity. Through this process, they are able to not only keep methane from cow manure out of the atmosphere but transform it into renewable fuel for cars or homes.
“It is our responsibility as dairy farmers to consider sustainable choices that take care of the environment, our cows and our people within the larger industry efforts,” said Adam Graft, owner of Leatherbrook Holsteins. “We’re trying to do the absolute best job we can do as dairy farmers and our hope is that our innovation helps demonstrate that progress is possible.”
Today’s consumers are further removed from agriculture than any generation preceding them. Because of that, there are common misconceptions around the dairy industry, specifically around the environmental impact of dairy farming. The Dairy Truth was created to explain dairy’s essential role in a sustainable food system and to show how unlike other industries, dairy farming can be an environmental solution as we work towards the path to a greener planet.
Leatherbrook Holsteins and countless other dairy farms around the country are dedicated to addressing climate change and water quality while providing nutritious and affordable foods for a growing population. Our hope is that The Dairy Truth serves as a conversation starter on not only the progress made on dairy farms but dairy’s potential to be an agent of change in the sustainability narrative.