Dairy’s Net Zero initiative gets a boost with $ 10 million research grant – food blog


Food and Agriculture Research Foundation awarded $ 10 million grant to support U.S. dairy’s Net Zero initiative as a critical on-farm pathway to advance 2050 environmental management goals industry-wide set through the American Dairy Innovation Center.

In California, scientists from UC Davis and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will collaborate on the national project on carbon sequestration, soil health and nitrogen management.

The Food and Agriculture Research Foundation grant, in partnership with the Soil Health Institute and the Dairy Research Institute, funds research that will have a positive impact on the future of animal and plant agriculture. in a world of increasingly limited natural resources, ”said Deanne Meyer, UC Davis-based UC Cooperative Extension specialist who studies livestock waste management.

Working with California dairy fodder and almond producers, scientists and technicians at UC Cooperative Extension will assess and demonstrate the impacts of using manure products as a fertilizer in combination with more traditional conservation practices. soils.

“With this research, it is possible to extend the use of manure-based dairy products beyond forage crops to crops such as almonds,” said Nick Clark, UC Cooperative Extension agricultural advisor for Fresno and Tulare counties. “We expect the results to demonstrate that the quality and quantity of groundwater can be protected and preserved, and that crop yields can be maintained without increasing net greenhouse gas emissions from crop production. . “

Clark added, “We look forward to working with our local producers and connecting with our national partners and collaborators to examine and demonstrate the best practical solutions that science has to offer for agriculture in the world of tomorrow. “

California dairy farmers wishing to participate in the experiment can contact Clark for more information at [email protected].

Data from the project “Regeneration of dairy soils and water: improving soil health to reduce greenhouse gases, improve water quality and enable new economic benefits” will be widely shared within the dairy community. The six-year project will provide measurement-based assessments of the greenhouse gas footprint of dairy products for feed production. It will also pave the way for new market opportunities related to carbon, water quality and soil health.

“Tackling emissions from the US dairy industry is a key solution to climate change,” said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. “I know dairy farmers are working hard to reduce their environmental footprint and I am delighted to support their efforts by advancing the research needed to adopt climate-smart practices on dairy farms across the country.

Through basic science, on-farm pilot projects and the development of new product markets, the Net Zero initiative aims to remove barriers and create incentives for farmers that will lead to economic viability and environmental impact. positive.

“After six years, we will have data that will accurately reflect the greenhouse gas footprint of our farms for dairy crop rotations taking into account soil health management practices and new products based on manure, ”said Jim Wallace, senior vice president of Dairy Management Inc. research. “We plan to develop critical information that links soil health outcomes, such as carbon sequestration, with practice and technology adoption. This will provide important background information to support the development of new carbon and water quality markets. ”

The project will be carried out in four dairy regions responsible for approximately 80% of US milk production: Northeast, Lakes, Mountain and Pacific. In addition to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis, collaborators include the Soil Health Institute and leading dairy research institutions including Cornell University, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, University of Vermont, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA ARS) Agricultural Research Service Research on irrigation and soils in northwestern Idaho.

Dozens of dairies representing the climates and soils of these main production regions will participate in a baseline survey on soil health and carbon storage. In addition, eight farms, including five operating dairies, two university research dairies and one USDA ARS research farm, will participate in the project. These pilot projects will be used to involve farmers in soil health management practices and monitor changes in greenhouse gas emissions, soil carbon storage, soil health and soil quality. ‘water.

The FFAR grant will be complemented by financial contributions from Net Zero Initiative partners such as Nestlé, the dairy industry, including Newtrient, and in-kind support for a total of $ 23.2 million. The funds will be managed by the Dairy Research Institute, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit founded and run by Dairy Management Inc., whose scientists will lead the project to fill research gaps in production of animal feed and manure. based fertilizer.

About the partners

The FFAR builds public-private partnerships to support bold science that fills critical research gaps. In collaboration with partners from the private and public sectors, FFAR identifies pressing challenges facing the food and agricultural industry and funds research to develop solutions.

NZI is an industry-wide effort led by six national dairy organizations: Dairy Management Inc., Innovation Center for US Dairy, International Dairy Foods Association, Newtrient, National Milk Producers Federation, and the US Dairy Export Council. This collaboration represents a critical path on the road to the sustainability of American dairy products.

For more information on dairy sustainability, visit www.usdairy.com/durability.



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