Sustainability & Stewardship

U.S. Dairy's Impact

Adopting new farming practices and technologies as they advance, U.S. dairy farmers and processors continue to produce safe and nutritious products and use fewer resources to do so.

In fact, a recent report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Global Dairy Platform found that North America is leading the world when it comes to efforts to reduce dairy greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. North America was the only region of the seven studied where both emissions intensity and absolute emissions fell for the timeframe of the report (2005-2015) while overall milk production rose.

The U.S. Leads the World in Herd Efficiency 

Greater herd efficiency translates to lower GHG emissions per unit of milk produced.

  • U.S. Cows produce 4x more milk than the average global cow.
    • In the U.S., in 1950, there were 25 million dairy cows, versus 9 million today. With 16 million fewer cows (1950 vs 2018), U.S. milk production has increased 60%.
  • Today, we're we're able to make four times the amount of milk using 90% less land, 65% less water and producing 76% less manure, while having a 63% smaller carbon footprint (1944 vs. 2007).
    • U.S. dairy farms have one of the lowest GHG footprints in the world.
    • The carbon footprint of a glass of milk is 2/3 smaller today than it was 70 years ago.
    • The U.S. Average GHGe footprint per gallon of milk is nearly half the world average (10.6 lbs. CO2e / gal milk vs. 20.4).