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Study: Biotechnology reduces carbon footprint of milk by 9 percent

Dairy farmers have focused on preserving their natural resources to sustain their way of life for generations. Recently at the World Dairy Expo, dairy farmers – often overlooked as environmentalists – learned how biotechnology is maximizing their focus on resource conservation and making the dairy industry even greener.

Dr. Jude Capper, Cornell University post-doctoral research associate, presented three seminars for dairy producers and industry leaders interested in the environmental impact of the dairy industry at the international dairy show. The Monsanto-sponsored seminars were based on Cornell’s study, “The Environmental Impact of rbST Use in Dairy Production,” clearly demonstrating that rbST use reduces resource inputs and waste outputs from dairy farms. The environmental benefits from rbST have been noted in earlier studies and government reports, but the Cornell investigation is the first science-based lifecycle assessment of U.S. milk production.

According to the research, 10 more pounds of milk per cow reduce the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk by 9 percent annually. If just 15 percent of the U.S. dairy herd – about 1 million cows-produced an average of 10 more pounds of milk per cow per day, the savings in land, water, feed and fuel are substantial. Plus nutrient waste and methane emission are reduced. According to the Cornell research, 1 million cows making 10 more pounds per cow has the following impact:

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