Companies and associations like Land O’Lakes and Dairy Farmers of America came together to create Newtrient in 2015 with a goal to “reduce the environmental footprint of dairy and make it economically viable to do so.”
Newtrient has released a progress report detailing its efforts in three areas of impact: management and recovery technology, manure-based products and market-driven solutions.
According to Newtrient, the US dairy industry is producing more dairy foods than ever before to keep up with the growing population. This creates problems for farmers when it comes to managing excess animal waste.
More than 4,000 dairy industry leaders have access to Newtrient’s Technology Catalog, an online resource for industry news, technology updates and case studies. Dairy farmers make up 36% of the users, 31% are technology and product vendors and 14% are food and beverage businesses.
Patrick Serfass of the American Biogas Council, said, “The need for nutrient recovery is becoming well known. What’s not well known are the tools and technologies that are available. Newtrient’s technology catalog fills this industry need.”
The catalog identifies more than 260 manure management and nutrient recovery solutions while using a nine-point scale to evaluate technologies.
Environmental indicator assessment
Newtrient said it plans to introduce an environmental indicator assessment feature to the catalog. It will rate technology on specific environmental factors like greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen and phosphorus recovery, storage reduction, pathogen reduction and odor control.
Newtrient has also acted as an incubator and accelerator for technology vendors and product developers. It also provides technical and business assessments for farms, regions and cooperatives.
The group is working to expand the manure-based product market to generate new revenue streams for dairy farmers while supporting soil health and improved water quality and quantity outcomes.
Dairy farmer and Newtrient board member Dan DeGroot said, “We are just beginning to realize the benefits of manure. Newtrient is driving new products to market that maximize the nutrients in manure and reduce the need to produce commercial fertilizers.”
Newtrient has received state and federal grant funding to mobilize its solutions for ecosystem benefits in states like California, Wisconsin, Vermont and Pennsylvania. These dairy states are looking to lower greenhouse gas emissions, expand water quality trading programs and generate credits for farmers for sustainable environmental practices, among other things.
Brad Scott, chairman of the National Dairy Board, said, “Dairy farmers have great responsibility for the land, air and water they steward, and all of us who consume food share that responsibility …[We] all benefit from healthy foods and a healthy environment.”