DairyCast Industry

Can Dairy Practices Reduce Carbon Footprints?

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A study on milk production use of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rbST) showed a reduction in the carbon footprint of dairies. Using rbST to increase milk production in cows means that less cows, resources, and energy are needed produce the same quantity of milk, when compared to a dairy operation not using rbST.

"Environmental sustainability is an important consideration in agricultural production, with emphasis placed upon meeting human food requirements while mitigating environmental impact. The present study demonstrates that use of rbST markedly improves the efficiency of milk production and mitigates environmental parameters, including eutrophication and acidification, greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use," wrote the study’s authors.

Power To The Poultry Manure

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Poultry manure, as a by product of poultry production, is getting attention of public groups in the Shenandoah Valley (VA). The big question is what to do with it. As source of energy, manure represents an opportunity. But the approach to generating usable energy can be controversial.

All manure to energy systems offer at least one source of revenue for poultry growers, the purchase of poultry litter to start the process. The large and small scale options differ, however, in several ways: grower contract requirements, from none to a 10 year commitment; the price paid for the litter, from $5 to $15 a ton or more; the grower’s investment, from none to $100,000 or more; and who owns the power generated, electricity, bio-gas or bio-oil, and any other saleable byproducts, such as fertilizer.

The Shenandoah Valley Poultry Litter to Energy Watershed & Air Advisory Group has been meeting to help capture public opinion, develop solutions, and put forth executable approaches.

CAFOs Vs EPA, What Next?

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In a ruling that will reduce uncertainty about how concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are regulated, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans stated that the US Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its "statutory authority" in requiring concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) apply for Clean Water Act permits.

 

"NPPC is very pleased with the 5th Circuit’s decision," said NPPC President Doug Wolf, a pork producer from Lancaster, Wis. "The court recognized a clear limit on EPA’s authority and required the agency to comply with the clean water law."

  What is yet unclear is how the EPA will respond and if any of the State environmental agencies will adjust their approach to trying to regulate CAFOs through local action.