The Fluid Milk Carbon Footprint Study, which measured the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with a gallon of fluid milk, was presented to an international academic audience by Greg Thoma, University of Arkansas Applied Sustainability Center. The Innovation Center distributed a press release to food and agriculture trade media and environmental news media.

The carbon footprint study is a significant first step in the industry’s effort to measure and improve its environmental performance. The industry now has a baseline to measure future progress in GHG reduction and data that individual farms and businesses can use in their own benchmark calculations and sustainability communications.

In conjunction with other secondary research, the study validates that the U.S. dairy industry accounts for approximately 2% of total U.S. GHG emissions versus the often misused 18% (previous FAO emissions estimate for global livestock).

The carbon footprint study is based on 2007-08 data from farms, processors, transportation companies and other sources. A key finding indicates that management practices are an important driver of the carbon footprint for farms, plants and transportation fleets, rather than the geographic region, business model or size of the farm or organization.

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is based in Rosemont, Ill.