PRO-DAIRY receives three grants to evaluate use of digesters on farms

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy set new environmental stewardship goals to move dairy farmers and the dairy industry towards sustainability, with target stewardship goals for 2050 and a promise to measure progress every five years. One of the goals is to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy products to become carbon neutral or better over the whole dairy food chain from farm to consumer.

This collective effort to benefit the whole dairy industry would not expect every farm or link in the dairy food chain to achieve net zero status, but as a whole to reduce or mitigate the carbon foot print of milk to a net zero.

Dairy farms have already made progress toward reducing the carbon footprint of milk. Farmers have always been stewards of the land. Through efficiencies, management, and technology, producing a gallon of milk in 2017 resulted in a 19 percent smaller carbon footprint than it did in 2007, according to a study published in the Journal of Animal Science.

Net zero carbon can be achieved through a number of efforts and PRO-DAIRY has recently obtained three grants to leverage our efforts to help farms move towards sustainability.
  • NYS DEC has asked PRO-DAIRY to determine the advantages and challenges of using dairy farm anaerobic digesters (AD) to process food waste to reduce the carbon emissions and create renewable energy, while recycling the nutrients. An outreach program will be developed to target dairy farms with anaerobic digesters, farms that could be advantaged by AD, and food waste producers who might be impacted by legislation to be implemented in January 2022. For more information go to: Food for AD
  • PRO-DAIRY is working with other engineers at Cornell to determine the economic and technical feasibility of a manure and food waste processing system to maximize the energy and minimize the environmental impact of these materials. This will also include further development of a dairy manure and co-digestion AD model that can be used independently. For more information go to: AD model
  • This work complements a NYSERDA grant: Strategies to Maximize Potential Value of On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion. This project identifies several different methods that the biogas production from AD can be improved or that the revenue from biogas as RNG or renewable electricity can be enhanced. For more information go to: AD optimization
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