The USDA-funded effort will identify dairy production practices that minimize the emission of greenhouse gasses. The project, led by UW-Madison involves researchers and Extension staff from seven universities, five federal labs and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.
The project will be led by Matt Ruark, UW-Madison assistant professor and Extension soils specialist.
"We will work across the entire dairy production system to improve production efficiency while decreasing negative impacts in an effort to support U.S. dairy producers' ongoing sustainability efforts," Ruark says.
The project is supported by a coalition of dairy organizations. In 2008, they made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from milk production by 25% by 2020.
"This is about adaptation – how to move agriculture forward to be as productive as possible as we move into a changing climate," Ruark says. "Anything we can do to reduce losses of carbon, nitrogen and water from the system can lead to greater efficiency. This will lead to more profit for the producer, less impact on the environment and a sustainable milk supply for the consumer."
Along with UW-Madison, the project includes researchers from Cornell University, Penn State University, University of Washington, University of Michigan, University of Arkansas, North Carolina A&T University along with four USDA-ARS labs, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.