Extension News

Carbon Footprint of Animal Agriculture Is July 31 eXtension Webcast Topic

7/16/2009

Today’s dairies use fewer resources and have less waste output than those of 60 years ago. A Cornell University study found dairy farming in 2007 produced 24 percent of the manure and 43 percent of the methane output per gallon of milk compared to farming in 1944. Modern dairy systems use 10 percent of the land, 23 percent of the feedstuffs and 35 percent of the water required to produce the same amount of milk in 1944.

Production efficiency and environmental impacts are hot topics. “With increased interest from Congress and consumers in climate change, it is important that farmers understand how their ‘carbon footprint’ and how their management practices impact it,” said John Lawrence, Iowa State University Extension livestock economist and director of the Iowa Beef Center.

Jude Capper, lead author of the Cornell study, and Roger Cady, a scientist at Elanco who contributed to the study, will present their research during a July 31 webcast from eXtension.

They will highlight research on calculating the carbon footprint of animal agriculture, especially in dairies. They will emphasize the role of production efficiency. The free educational webcast is from the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center of eXtension.

Webcast Speakers
Capper is an assistant professor of dairy sciences at Washington State University. Her post-doctoral research at Cornell focused on ruminant lipid metabolism and modeling the environmental impact of dairy production. Capper has worked with colleagues to show the environmental impact of dairy production. The group’s current project evaluates the contribution made by various on-farm management practices (such as age at first calving, cow longevity and somatic cell count) to the environmental impact of milk production. She intends to extend the work to develop equivalent models for beef production. 

Cady is a senior technical consultant at Elanco Animal Health. He received a doctorate in animal breeding from Cornell University. Cady spent two years working as a post-doctoral research assistant at the University of Guelph where he developed the prototype sire-evaluation program for the Ontario Calving Ease Report. Cady has served as an extension dairy specialist at the University of New Hampshire and Washington State University and worked at Monsanto before joining Elanco.

The Friday, July 31 session begins at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The webcast meeting room opens 15 minutes before the start time. Go to http://www.extension.org/pages/Live_Webcast_Information to view.

Aug. 21 Webcast
The Aug. 21 webcast is about evaluating innovative technologies through Farm Pilot Project Coordination (FPPC). FPPC has been involved in 37 demonstrations of innovative manure treatment technologies in 17 states. Those involved have learned about making these technologies feasible at a farm scale. Speakers include Bill Boyd of the USDA NRCS and Bob Monley of FPPC Inc.

Monthly webcasts are hosted by the Livestock and Poultry Environmental (LPE) Learning Center, an information resource developed by more than 150 experts from land-grant universities, agencies and other organizations. The center is part of the national eXtension interactive Web resource customized with links to local Cooperative Extension Web sites.

LPE Learning Center
The center advocates that individuals involved in public policy issues, animal production and delivery of technical services for animal producers should have on-demand access to the nation's best science-based resources. Articles about animal manure management are at http://www.extension.org/animal+manure+management.

eXtension is an educational partnership helping Americans improve their lives with access to timely, objective, research-based information and educational opportunities. The eXtension site is www.extension.org. Land-grant universities were founded on the ideals that higher education should be accessible to all, that colleges should teach liberal and practical subjects and share knowledge with people throughout their states.

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Contacts :

John Lawrence, Iowa State University, (515) 294-6290, jdlaw@iastate.edu

Jill Heemstra, University of Nebraska, (402) 748-3909, jheemstra@unl.edu

Jude Capper, Washington State University, capper@wsu.edu

Lynette Spicer, Iowa State University, (515) 294-1327, lspicer@iastate.edu