As a whole, the agricultural industry is stepping up to the plate to become carbon neutral. This week, Bayer announced they will reward farmers for generating carbon credits by adopting climate-smart practices. Soon afterward, the dairy sector announced its own move towards carbon neutrality. Sharing how his own farm is evolving to carbon neutrality and how the dairy sector is aggressively moving to become carbon-neutral by 2050, Indiana dairy farmer Mike McCloskey highlighted ways federal incentives can further help dairy toward its net-zero emissions future.
“For some reason, repurposing cow manure does not have the same shine as an array of solar panels or the grandeur of a wind farm on the horizon,” said McCloskey, chairman of National Milk Producers Federation’s Environmental Issues Committee and a pioneer in carbon-friendly dairy-farming practices, in written testimony prepared for a hearing today of the House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit.
But aligning the incentives needed for dairy to widely adopt anaerobic digesters and other emissions-mitigation technologies deserves greater attention, as it will only enhance the energy transition already encouraged by federal support for better-known clean-energy sources, he said.
“Anaerobic digestion provides clean energy and several other environmental benefits – such as avoided methane emissions, mitigated odor and air pollution, and minimized nutrient loading,” McCloskey said.
The dairy industry has adopted an ambitious goal of becoming a carbon-neutral sector of the economy by 2050 through its Net-Zero Initiative, a partnership among farmers and the entire production chain. As the national organization representing U.S. dairy farmers, NMPF is committed to these sustainability goals, which will be greatly aided by public-policy solutions.
“The Net Zero Initiative is about each dairy farm — regardless of size, region, or production style — contributing what it can, where it can,” McCloskey said. “No individual farm will be held to the Net Zero target, yet all will play a part. I, and my fellow dairy farmers, look forward to working with Congress.”