Texas dairies strive to be good environmental stewards – they live on or near their farms, and they depend on the land, water and air to make a living and to raise a family. Dairies must demonstrate they are protecting these natural resources in order to receive the permits required to operate from regulating state and federal agencies.
Many dairy operators voluntarily take steps that allow them to do their job to provide food for Texas while helping to preserve the environment. making less of an impact on the environment.
For example, dairy farmers are investing in new technologies and adopting new manure management methods to keep manure from harming air and water quality. Applying manure to land can be an environmentally sound approach to fertilizing fields, eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers. Recycled manure also helps grow better crops.
In addition, Texas dairy farmers are exploring and starting to install anaerobic digester systems that convert manure into methane gas.
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has set 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals. By 2050, U.S. dairy collectively commits to become carbon neutral or better; optimize water use while maximizing recycling; and improve water quality through enhanced manure and nutrient management
The U.S. dairy was the first in the food agricultural sector to conduct a full life cycle assessment at a national level which showed it contributes just 2% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2007, producing a gallon of milk uses 90% less land and 65% less water, with a 63% smaller carbon footprint than in 1944. Then, thanks to increasingly modern and innovative dairy farming practices, that impact in 2017 shrunk significantly, requiring 30% less water, 21% less land and a 19% smaller carbon footprint than it did in 2007.