Bel Brands USA and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) – a national dairy cooperative of farm families – announced the results of their sustainable milk cooling pilot program launched last year.
Last year, Bel Brands and DFA partnered to support the adoption of energy-efficient and cost-effective on-farm milk cooling methods. This included new natural well water and forced air barn cooling systems installed on a DFA-member dairy farm in Iowa that supplies milk to Bel Brands.
Over the 12 months, the use of these cooling methods resulted in a 6% reduction in electricity used on the dairy, while milk production increased 4%. Moreover, the addition of new sand bedding on the dairy also enabled farmers to spend less time on their tractors. This led to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), as CO2e were reduced by 58 tons during this time. These findings are important to informing future best standards for dairy farming, especially during seasonal spikes in energy use.
"At Bel Brands, we have been improving our practices in an effort to be a better steward of the environment and a positive force in the communities we serve," Jean Michel Dos Remedios, sourcing and supplier development senior director, Bel Brands USA, said in the announcement. "Our work with Dairy Farmers of America is the latest example of our commitment."
The first year of the program showed that the use of energy-efficient methods, like natural well water systems and barn cooling methods, are important for reducing GHG on dairy farms while also increasing milk production.
To build on the success of this program, Bel and DFA are pleased to extend their partnership to a new program intent on supporting the next generation of U.S. dairy farmers. Under the new pilot, Bel will supply a small DFA-member dairy farm in South Dakota with equipment normally thought only to be useful on a larger dairy. The purpose being to test the viability of the equipment on smaller dairy farms to promote cost-effective and sustainable practices that can be replicated on other U.S. dairy farms in the future.
"Sustainability has been important to our farm families long before it was a buzzword, as taking care of their animals and the land is their future and livelihood," Hansel New, director of sustainability programs at DFA, said in the announcement. "Partners, like Bel Brands, are helping bring technologies to our farms to help reduce their environmental footprint and climate impact."