Tom Vilsack (copy)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the USDA will be part of a global effort to reduce dairy emissions. The U.S. dairy industry has applauded the announcement.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council and National Milk Producers Federation are hailing USDA’s announcement that the agency supports the new Pathways to Dairy Net Zero.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement at the U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, Scotland, last week.

Pathways to Dairy Net Zero is aimed at accelerating climate action to further reduce the global dairy industry’s emissions, and supporters — including 11 of the 20 largest dairy companies in the world — have already committed to the effort. Collectively, supporters represent about 30% of worldwide milk production.

The initiative is aligned with the U.S. dairy industry’s Net Zero Initiative to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The dairy groups also welcomed the formal launch of the Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate during the U.N. conference. The initiative is a global effort to accelerate investment in innovative, science-based solutions to increase food security and help agriculture and food systems mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The dairy groups said that initiative, which embraces practical solutions identified through investments in research and pilot projects, is similar to U.S. dairy’s net zero approach.

“Dairy farmers are proud to be part of the U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative to do our part in driving toward a global climate solution,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.

“USDA’s formal support for the Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, which NMPF also supports, will help to further catalyze this global effort by dairy sectors and governments around the world to foster sustainable production practices,” he said.

NMPF commends USDA’s global leadership in charting an incentive-based approach to encouraging sustainably managed livestock systems that can help feed a growing global population while minimizing environmental impacts, he said.

With the world’s lowest greenhouse gas footprint per gallon of milk, U.S. dairy leads the world in sustainability, said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC.

“Yet we’re also deeply committed to making further progress as we work together with others in the U.S. and around the world to create environmental solutions that make U.S. dairy ever more competitive globally,” she said.

Working together and with a firm commitment to the positive role that innovation and productivity can play in the sustainability arena, U.S. dairy will be able to help create the sustainable future so important to everyone, she said.

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