No problem – Forget all those jokes about cow flatulence causing climate change. A new study reports that the dairy industry is responsible for only about 2% of all US greenhouse gas emissions.
While one group of researchers addressed carbon emissions from the dairy to the milk in your cereal bowl, another group looked further upstream. Engineer David Shonnard says, “We focused on the carbon footprint of the feed crops. Animal feed is a major contributor to carbon emissions.”
His team concluded that the cumulative total emission of greenhouse gases associated with all fluid milk consumed in the US was approximately 35 million metric tons in 2007. While the emissions are lower than sometimes reported, there is still room for improvement for dairy farms and businesses of all kinds. In particular, manure management, feed production and enteric methane (cow gas) were cited as areas that are ripe for innovation on farms.
If we were only making as much progress with our cars as farmers are making with their cows, global warming might become a thing of the past!
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