Net Zero by 2050

Dairy Farmers of Canada is committed to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Every farm has the opportunity to contribute to this goal.

Net Zero by 2050: Best Management Practices Guide to Mitigate Emissions on Dairy Farms

Canadian dairy farmers have a long history as stewards of the land. We have made great progress towards a sustainable future for dairy – our carbon footprint is now one of the lowest in the world. The innovative nature of dairy farmers ensures a commitment to continuous improvement, so we’re not stopping there. That’s why Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) set a goal for our sector to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from dairy production by 2050. This is an achievable target because of the hard work that’s already being done by farmers like you.

So, how do we get to net zero? By voluntarily adopting best management practices that will reduce on-farm emissions and increase overall sustainability. Some of these practices may already be in place on your farm.

To help you along our path, DFC has released our Net Zero by 2050: Best Management Practices Guide to Mitigate Emissions on Dairy Farms, developed in consultation with experts to help farmers identify and implement best management practices (BMPs) that make the most sense for their farms.

The new guide is designed to help you with future farm planning. The 44-page downloadable booklet provides an overview of 30 on-farm practices identified in current research that outline opportunities for reducing emissions, increasing carbon sequestration, and improving overall environmental sustainability.

The BMPs are organized according to the four categories in DFC’s Life Cycle Assessment: Livestock Management, Feed Production, Manure Management, and Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation, along with a fifth category for Land Management, which includes practices aimed at carbon sequestration and biodiversity enhancement. Each BMP highlights the benefits associated with each practice, tips for implementation, and resources for additional information.

Learn more about the Best Management Practices Guide
Livestock SM

Livestock Management

Improvements in cow health and comfort, enhanced diets and genetics, and advances in technology, means fewer cows are needed to produce the same amount of milk. Fewer cows generally means fewer GHG emissions. Optimizing dairy health, genetics and diet can further reduce methane emission and lower production costs.

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Feed SM

Feed Production

Producing feed using more sustainable practices provides the opportunity to improve crop and soil health while strengthening overall resiliency to the effects of climate change, such as droughts and floods. You can improve the soil’s ability to store and capture carbon that will improve nutrient levels, water retention and soil structure and in turn boost crop health, productivity and help reduce fertilizer and fuel costs.

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Manure SM

Manure Management

Improving the way you manage the manure on your farm can help realize its full benefits, from improved soil health to renewable energy generation, while minimizing costs and reducing environmental risks. ‘Wetter’ conditions (less oxygen) favour the production of methane, while drier conditions (such as in a crust on top of manure) result in methane consumption (breaking it down). Management practices that avoid methane production and promote methane consumption help mitigate GHG emissions.

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Energy SM

Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation

There are many green energy innovations that offer effective ways to offset energy use and consumption costs, and sometimes provide new on-farm revenue streams – from reducing overall energy use to producing and/or purchasing renewable energy. Responsibly managing plastics is another way you can contribute to a clean and healthy environment.

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Land SM

Land Management

Managing your land with a focus on soil health and biodiversity helps create more resiliency to the effects of climate change, such as heatwaves. By preserving, protecting and enhancing natural systems such as grasslands, wetlands, tame pastureland, forests, riparian buffer zones, shelterbelts and hedgerows, you can provide carbon storage and improve soil health as well as watercourse and groundwater quality.

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Dairy Farmers of Canada's Net-Zero Strategy