The dairy industry is teaming up with a major agribusiness and an environmental group to “develop a replicable program and toolset to scale the adoption of best management practices in feed/forage production and feed efficiency.”
The framework, announced at the Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Policy Summit, is aimed at supporting the American dairy industry’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The industry is teaming up with Syngenta and the Nature Conservancy on the effort, which will provide “low-effort data tracking and decision support tools, technical support regarding best management practices (BMPs) implementation, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV), and avenues for farmers to receive payment for ecosystem services/ conservation practice adoption.”
“This partnership really aims to develop a program that we can replicate across the country – that we can scale resources for the adoption of best management practices in feed and forage production and feed efficiency,” Krysta Harden, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, said Tuesday at the event. “The plan is to launch in one or two sites across the U.S. later this year with a plan to really scale across the country over the next three years.”
Syngenta Group CEO Erik Fyrwald said the focus is on the feed/production side of dairy. “Syngenta brings a corn product, Enogen, for dairy feed, but also agronomists and digital technology to provide advice to farmers about best practices for sustainability and then tools for data collection and reporting.” Enogen feed corn was originally developed for the ethanol industry but the company later learned that it had positive results for cows by being more digestible, enabling them to produce more milk while also reducing their methane emissions.
To participate, farmers complete a self-assessment, selects practices based on a recommendation, and goes through an implementation plan of those practices on their operations. The goal, the stakeholders explain in a handout, is to focus “on driving positive environmental outcomes, while assuring the value of participating is greater than the cost of participating for farmers.”
TNC’s Lynn Scarlett said her organization is “an interface” with the broader conservation and environmental community. We are a voice amplifier and we blend our technology, our science….and our partnerships to help broaden out both the audience and the knowledge.”