3 Ways Cows Help the Planet
In Florida, dairy farmers and 125,000+ dairy cows produce more than 300 million gallons of milk every year. While producing this delicious and nutritious food, they’re also helping the environment and providing us with sustainable nutrition.
Help with Food Waste
Agricultural byproducts that are inedible to humans, such as orange peels, cottonseed hulls and expired baked goods, can make up around 30% of a dairy cow’s diet. Thanks to a unique digestive system, cows can process and convert these byproducts into nutritious milk and keep them out of landfills. Florida dairy farmers upcycle around 170,000 tons of these byproducts as cow feed each year!
Provide Beneficial Compost
Cow manure, a byproduct of dairy farming, acts as a natural fertilizer and renewable energy source. It is rich in nutrients, reduces the need for artificial chemicals, and fertilizes farmland to improve crop production in a natural, sustainable way. One cow produces enough fertilizer to grow 56 pounds of corn or 84 pounds of tomatoes.
By properly recycling cow manure, farmers protect nearby lakes, rivers, and streams. Farmers store manure and spread it on their fields according to a nutrient management plan based on the types of soil found on the farm, the terrain of the fields, and the amount of nutrients the farmers’ crops need.
Your Environmental Footprint is Smaller Than Ever
Thanks to dairy farmers’ unwavering commitment, the environmental impact of producing a gallon of milk today is significantly less than in previous years. For example, compared to 2007, producing a gallon of milk required 30% less water, 21% less land, and had a 19% smaller carbon footprint in 2017. Dairy farmers have always looked for more sustainable practices. If you look even further back and compare today’s practices to 70 years ago, each gallon of milk uses 65% less water, 90% less land and has a 63% lower carbon footprint. The future is bright also, by 2050, dairy farmers across the nation have committed to carbon neutrality or better.
Our commitment is to continue producing nutritious milk, while keeping cows happy and healthy and staying environmentally responsible so that you and your family can have access to fresh local milk. Learn more about Florida dairy cows and farm practices. And remember, when you drink milk, you're also contributing to Florida's sustainable nutrition.