U.S. Dairy Publishes 2021–2022 Sustainability Report

Committed to transformative good for people and the planet
Feb 22, 2024 9:00 AM ET

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy released its ninth U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report on the industry’s strategy, approach and performance across three key pillars: Advance Well-being, Regenerate the Environment, and Care for Animals and Communities.

The comprehensive biennial report showcases the industry’s social responsibility pledge, The U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment, and dives deep into partnerships and progress across the value chain. Dairy companies and processors that have adopted the Stewardship Commitment represent 75 percent of U.S. milk production and follow a rigorous set of standards that demonstrate positive impact. The Stewardship Commitment is also recognized as a national program by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Sustainable Dairy Partnership (SDP).

“Amid changing expectations and marketplace shifts, the U.S. dairy community has maintained its focus on making positive contributions to a global and sustainable food system that nourishes people, the planet and local communities,” said Barbara O’Brien, President and CEO of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “As a result, the industry’s collaboration has catalyzed outcomes that no one company or sector could do alone, and efforts continue at farms, companies and organizations across the industry to further build on this momentum.”

The U.S. dairy community continues to further strategies, programs and tools that support progress at the field, farm and plant levels. Key highlights include the following:

  • The U.S. dairy industry responded to increased demand for dairy at food banks by distributing more than 1.17 billion pounds of dairy products over two years through the Feeding America network.
  • U.S. dairy is working collectively to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) neutrality by balancing GHG emissions with reductions and removals. Dairy farmers, cooperatives and processors have invested in tools and resources to measure and report Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG reductions at the company level across the value chain.
  • The U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative, an industry-wide effort to make sustainable practices and technologies more accessible and affordable for dairy farms of all sizes and geographies, gained significant momentum: 26 projects spanning 338 farms across 19 states are currently underway, and nearly $40 million in funding has supported on-farm pilots and critical research to reduce methane and other GHG emissions, improve soil health, sequester carbon and protect water quality.
  • The globally recognized National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program created by dairy farmers, furthered its programs and resources across Animal Care, Antibiotic Stewardship, Biosecurity, Environmental Stewardship and Workforce Development. In 2024, the program will provide additional refinement to these areas to support dairy farmers in continuing to demonstrate their commitment to best practice implementation of these core social responsibility principles.

The report also includes information about U.S. dairy’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals to achieve GHG neutrality, optimize water use while maximizing recycling and improve water quality by optimizing utilization of manure and nutrients. Progress against each of these goals will be reported every five years, beginning in 2025. This report will not only document progress but also identify technological and other advancements that can accelerate improvements, enabling nimble adaptation and focus on what can be scaled for maximum impact.

To make progress against U.S. dairy’s key priorities and goals, collaboration is key. The Innovation Center’s Dairy Sustainability Alliance® is a nearly 200-member, multi-stakeholder forum where the industry shares knowledge, provides input and collaborates on issues and opportunities impacting U.S. dairy. The Dairy Sustainability Alliance® works to accelerate progress toward common sustainability goals and contribute to the long-term viability of the U.S. dairy industry.

For more information, please visit www.usdairy.com.


Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® was established in 2008 by farmers through the dairy checkoff to foster collaboration that progresses the industry’s goal of building a healthy and sustainable future for the dairy community, the people it serves, and the planet we all share. The Innovation Center convenes diverse stakeholders and leaders to advance the U.S. dairy community’s positive impact on shared social responsibility and sustainability priorities that include nutrition and health, food security, the environment, animal care, workforce and food safety. Through these efforts, the U.S. dairy community contributes to a more sustainable world for future generations. For more information, visit usdairy.com/about-us/innovation-center.

Media Contact:
Lisa McComb 
DMI Senior Vice President, Earned Media

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