By investing in renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency, promoting farm-level carbon sequestration projects, as well as modernizing its processing and transportation network, the Northwest farmer-owned cooperative said it believes it can offset the greenhouse gas emissions of its entire enterprise from farm to consumer product.
“Our local farmer-owners want to lead in the spirit of the 102-year-old co-op to set up the next generation of proud and successful farmers,” said Stan Ryan, president, and CEO of Darigold, which is the marketing and processing subsidiary of the NDA.
“Many of the co-op’s nearly 400 farm families are multigenerational. They are dedicated to protecting their natural resources not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also so their children and grandchildren can continue their legacy.”
Ryan added the coop had previously announced a goal to reduce carbon emissions 20-30% by 2030, but the organization determined it is not only feasible, but imperative to strive for complete carbon neutrality.
“We know that fiscal and technological hurdles remain, as well as some challenges with yet unknown solutions, but existing stewardship projects have dramatically improved the outlook of achieving carbon neutrality, driving our confidence to announce this goal.”
Preliminary results from one major farmer-run project, developed with help from state and conservation groups over the past few years, demonstrate that the carbon-neutral goal is achievable, the company said. And while carbon credit validation results are still pending, the NDA is hopeful it can offer up to 100m pounds of farm-level carbon-neutral milk per year by 2021.
Darigold and NDA’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 aligns with goals set earlier this year by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy for the entire US dairy business to collectively reach carbon neutrality or better by 2050.
Duane Naluai, senior vice president of Darigold consumer products, said, “More than an initiative, we are committed to achieving carbon neutrality for the good of all who share this precious planet: our animals, families, employees, neighbors, consumers and customers. This represents a new level of action and will result in Darigold designing even more sustainability into our business processes, packages and products, alongside quality, nutrition and value.”
The NDA is owned by nearly 400 dairy farm families in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Darigold, which operates 11 plants throughout the Northwest, handles approximately 10bn pounds of milk annually, and makes products for retail, foodservice, commodity and specialty markets.