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Sustainability Frequently Asked Questions


Do dairy farmers really care about the environment?

Yes. Dairy farmers live and work on their farms, so it’s important for them to protect the land, water and air for their families, their communities and future generations. All dairy farms must meet the standards for manure storage, handling and recycling set forth by their state and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Caring for the environment is a responsibility dairy farmers share with their local community. Good environmental practices are essential to a dairy farm’s success, and leave a positive legacy for future generations.

It takes about  2 days (48 hours) for milk to travel from the farm to the grocery store. Dairy farm families are committed to producing wholesome, nutritious milk and dairy foods. Besides grocery stores, milk from Midwest dairy farms can be found at convenience stores and restaurants such as 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, Domino’s, and Pizza Ranch.

Learn more about milk’s 48 hour journey.

Do dairy farmers practice sustainable farming methods?

Yes. By combining scientific advancements and on-farm sensibilities, dairy farmers continually look for new ways to be sustainable. Examples of sustainable farming practices include crop rotation to mitigate weeds and improve soil quality, the introduction of beneficial insects to control harmful pests, no-tillage or reduced tillage crop farming for soil and fuel conservation and the use of new products with enhanced environmental benefits.

How can dairy farms be more sustainable?

Due to improved reproductive practices and improved diet regulation, dairy cows themselves are more efficient today than in the past. These changes to breeding and diet have led to lower emissions overall in dairy cattle. Dairy farms also recycle water and source food from vendors that would otherwise go to waste.

Dairy farmers are continually looking for ways to make their dairy farms more sustainable. Did you know:

  • In recent decades, the dairy community has reduced the carbon footprint of milk by 63% due to improvements in animal breeding, health programs, cow comfort, and overall farm management practices.
  • The carbon footprint of a glass of milk is two-thirds less than it was 70 years ago, yet still has the same nutritional benefits and great taste.
  • Producing a gallon of milk has 19% less greenhouse gas emissions than it did in 2007.

Plus, the United States dairy community has established a collective goal of achieving greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050. To learn more, click here.