Nutritious products are at the heart of what we do.
Throughout UDA’s 60 year history, the U.S. dairy industry has been able to reduce its environmental footprint drastically. In 2007, producing a glass of milk had a 37% lower carbon footprint and required 35% less water, 10% less land, and 21 fewer animals in comparison to a 1944 baseline.₁ UDA is excited to continue driving progress in this critical area in the coming years. But our definition of sustainability doesn’t only focus on our environmental impacts. We also focus on other key priority areas that help us thrive: workforce development, community contributions, food safety and quality, and responsible animal care.
On the Farm:
United Dairymen of Arizona uses the Stewardship and Sustainability Framework for U.S. Dairy as a reference to track, measure and communicate our commitment to environmental stewardship, social responsibility and continuous improvement.
On-Farm Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
While UDA’s farms used more energy than the national average, UDA’s farms emitted 10% fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per lb. FPCM than the regional average. This difference amounts to 17,420 fewer cars driven on the road in one year!
We credit some of the success of our limiting environmental footprint to our use of digesters. A methane digester from just one dairy can produce up to 5 million kWh of electricity, enough to power over 400 households. Digesters like these allow producers to capture methane (a greenhouse gas that is 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide) and produce biogas that can be used on the farm or sold to local utilities. The result is less electricity from the grid and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from manure. In addition to capturing methane, digesters allow us to utilize over 368,000 tons of organic waste. In the process of making biogas, these digesters separate the remaining water and solids. The solids are used as fertilizer-grade manure management on cropland, and the water can be recycled as irrigation.
Seven of our members are converting manure management into compost. Composting allows our members to repurpose manure waste as a fertilizer / soil amendment that can also reduce odors, create alternative revenue streams, and reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions from manure.₃
In addition, our farmers have found another way to recycle on their farms through the use of brewer grains as animal feed. Brewer grains are a great source of protein and fiber for our cows.”
United Dairymen of Arizona has proudly adopted the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment, affirming to our customers, our consumers and the global marketplace UDA’s pledge to responsible dairy production as we nourish the communities we serve. For more information about the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment, go to: http://commitment.usdairy.com/.