Extending a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy have agreed to continue to improving the sustainability of dairy production and to make energy efficiency improvements on dairy farms.
“Through this renewed commitment, USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will continue research that helps dairy farmers improve the sustainability of their operations,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “This vital research also will support the dairy industry as it works to reach its long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.”
A main goal of the MOU is to explore innovative ways to use dairy production, processing, and handling waste products; and to increase the construction of anaerobic digesters on dairy farms. Since signing the MOU in 2009, the USDA has made nearly 180 awards to help finance anaerobic digester systems on dairy farms. The anaerobic digesters capture the methane byproducts and produce renewable energy for on-farm use and sale onto the electric grid. Additionally, since the agreement in 2009, the USDA has awarded nearly 140 REAP loans and grants to support the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency systems on dairy farm operations.
“We have a long and strong relationship with USDA and Secretary Vilsack, and dairy farmers and the dairy industry are very happy that USDA is entering into the next MOU with the Innovation Center,” said Thomas Gallagher, CEO of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “We are all interested in sustainable agriculture and producing good food responsibly, while bolstering an important rural economy, and this new MOU lays out the roadmap for more improvements. That’s good for dairy, good for the economy and good for consumers.”
To learn more about the recently extended commitments between the USDA and the U.S. dairy industry, visit USDA and Dairy Producers Renew Agreement to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Increase Sustainability of Dairy Production, USDA News Release.