Lifecycle Assessment Finds Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions on Organic Dairy Farms

A University of Wisconsin Madison research group published a dairy lifecycle assessment in the Journal of Cleaner Production that shows small organic dairy farms that focus on grazing and organic production techniques are low greenhouse gas champions. The peer reviewed study uses a breakthrough methodology that includes accounting for the carbon sequestration benefit of grazed pastures. The modeling assessment was done with farm-specific input provided by Organic Valley and reflects the nature and style of production common within the co-op’s dairy membership. Other factors contributing to the low greenhouse gas emission results included the avoidance of synthetic crop inputs and use of organic crop amendments, the longevity of cattle, and prevalent use of manure as a fertilizer source. The study found greenhouse gas emissions to be 24% lower on organic dairy farms as compared to conventional U.S. dairy averages.