Posted: January 11, 2011
American agriculture has a great story to tell of increasing productivity while at the same time decreasing its environmental footprint.
A Town Hall Forum held Saturday at AG CONNECT Expo in Atlanta focused on “The Shrinking Environmental Footprint of Agriculture” and offered some great information about dairy farming in the United States.
Dr. Jude Capper of Washington State University, a livestock carbon footprint expert, talked about the importance of looking at the footprint in terms of the production, not the animal. “Compared to 1944, now we have bigger cows, they eat more feed, but they also give more milk, so milk yield per cow has increase four fold since 1944,” she explains. “We’ve cut cow numbers by 60 percent, but we also make 59 percent more milk, so that cut the total carbon footprint per gallon of milk, which is huge.”
Dr. Capper adds that milk production has improved in all environmental areas. “Compared to 1944, to make one gallon of milk now, we only need 21% of the animals, 24% of the feed, 10% of the land, 35% of the water – a huge decrease in total carbon footprint,” she says. And she believes it can continue to improve.
Listen to my interview with Dr. Capper here: Dr. Jude Capper