Canadian dairy farmers are doing their part to contribute to a sustainable food supply to support a well-nourished population and healthy planet today and for future generations. In 2021, Dairy Farmers of Canada announced this commitment for the dairy farm sector to reach net zero by 2050.
Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions
For dairy farms, net zero means achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from farms and GHG removed from the atmosphere. To get there, farmers make efforts to reduce emissions at the farm level as much as possible and offset the remainder with carbon sinks in their farm landscapes or credits, bringing total GHG emissions to net zero.
This net-zero goal for the dairy sector has been modelled based on international and Canadian research, which shows that this target is realistic and achievable. The modelling identified a list of actions from trailblazers that more farmers can implement on the farm to reduce or avoid emissions, and to capture (i.e., sequester) them from the atmosphere, thus bringing the sectors’ emissions to net zero.
Actions to mitigate emissions on dairy farms
The actions Canadian dairy farmers are taking to achieve this net-zero commitment range from:
- efforts related to the cows themselves as ruminants;
- cropping practices to enhance soil health and biodiversity, and other nature-based solutions;
- doing an energy audit and making more efficient use of energy on the farm.
Dairy farmers have long been stewards of the environment and much of the work needed to meet this target has already begun. This is a continuation of the dairy sector’s ongoing efforts related to environmental stewardship. From 1990 to 2020, Canadian dairy farmers reduced the carbon footprint of milk production by 25% through improved management practices.1
Aligning with Canada’s and global net-zero goals
Dairy Farmers of Canada’s net-zero goal aligns with the Government of Canada’s goal of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, and international commitments including The Paris Agreement. Dairy Farmers of Canada has also joined 11 of the world’s largest dairy organizations in supporting Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, a Global Dairy Platform-sponsored commitment towards net-zero GHG emissions.
Want to learn more?
Learn more about Dairy Farmers of Canada’s net-zero goal and ongoing commitment to sustainability.