The changing climate can impact both crop production and animal health, and Bel said addressing these impacts requires investment in farm animal innovation to reduce the environmental footprint of each step of the production process.
Bel and DFA, who joined forces to help improve on-farm practices, have identified an opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint on dairy farms by integrating more energy efficient and economically viable milk cooling systems in line with the Net Zero Initiative (NZI), an industry-wide effort led by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.
Throughout the 12-month pilot program, Bel and DFA will support the adoption of energy-efficient and cost-effective on-farm milk cooling methods, including natural well-water cooling-methods, by a dairy farm in Iowa supplying milk to Bel Brands; with Bel co-financing the cooling mechanism. As a secondary benefit, the warm well-water used to cool the milk will be fed to the cows at their preferred temperature.
The farm will work with DFA's sustainability team to capture data on the energy and economic savings of the sustainable milk cooling practices compared to the high-energy flash chillers, with the goal of replicating these practices on other US dairy farms in the future, if proven successful.
"At Bel Brands, we are actively working to promote sustainable farming, including responsible dairy production – and have for over 15 years – to help drive a more sustainable and regenerative agriculture industry," said Bill Graham, CEO, Bel Brands USA.
The findings of the program are intended to help inform future best practices for dairy farm sustainability throughout the supply chain, specifically management and mitigation practices to help address the seasonal spike in energy use.
Jean Michel Dos Remedios, sourcing & supplier development senior director, Bel Brands USA, said, "We are committed to nourishing communities while reducing the impact our products and processes have on the environment. Our partnership with Dairy Farmers of America exemplifies that commitment and gives us an opportunity to partner with dairy farmers to make the industry more sustainable."