How Canadian dairy farmers are improving sustainability at the farm

Article 3 min

We care deeply about the planet. And by working directly with the land and animals, environmental considerations remain a key issue for Canadian dairy farmers. See how our farmers view sustainability and get a glimpse of the progress we’ve made over the years.

By DFC - PLC, Communications Team

Highlights

  • Canadian dairy farmers are keen on adopting sustainable farming practices.
  • Canadian milk’s carbon footprint has decreased by 7% in the past 5 years.

Climate change and the state of our planet is a hot topic on all our minds these days—as it should be. And those making a living from agriculture, including Canadian dairy farmers, are often the first to see the impact of changing weather patterns. Our crops depend on temperature, rainfall, soil conditions, and so on, all of which are affected by environmental shifts. Our livelihoods hinge on bountiful crops and on the well-being of our animals. That’s why we, as farmers, have a vested interest in adopting more sustainable practices. Our future depends on maintaining the land for years to come.

Shareable Quote

We don’t want to impact our environment negatively because this is where we live as well. We want a healthy environment for us, for our children, for our animals, for our cows.
Gerhard Schirmacher, Frimag Farm
A field on a Canadian dairy farm

Greener milk: Lowering our environmental impact

Canadian dairy farmers go through great lengths to conserve natural resources and safeguard the land they work on. As most Canadian dairy farms are family-owned, our goal is to pass down the land to future generations—so thinking long term is key!

 

Peter Strebel in the barn with his sons Anthony and Mathieu
“I think agriculture is the best way to take care of the land we care about. If we don’t, we would pay for it long-term,” explains Peter Strebel from Strebel & Sons Farm. He works with his sons, Anthony and Mathieu, who are following in his footsteps and work with him on the family farm.

In order to preserve the land, we take many steps to reduce our environmental impact. One of these centres around improving manure management practices to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas. Another regular farm practice is crop rotations, which is a system for planting that helps maintain soil health by selecting different crops to grow on the same land year after year. Furthermore, the adoption of precision agricultural technologies helps us improve efficiency and increase our yield while lowering the use of natural resources and energy.

Alexandre G. Vincent, Vinbert Farm
“By rotating crops and employing more modern practises to reduce waste, the end goal is to be environmentally friendly,” says Alexandre G. Vincent from Vinbert Farm.

Sustainability by the numbers

The steps we’ve been taking towards a more sustainable future have already begun to show improvements. The production of one litre of Canadian milk emits less than half the greenhouse gas emissions compared to the global average. Moreover, in the past 5 years, we’ve lowered the carbon footprint of a litre of milk by 7%, and we won’t stop there. We’re continuously working to produce Canadian milk with fewer resources.

 

7% lower carbon footprint, 6% lower water consumption, 11% lower land use
In 5 years, we’ve lowered the carbon footprint, water consumption, and land used per litre of milk produced in Canada. We keep track of our progress and continuously strive to better our environmental practices.

Our journey towards a greener, more sustainable future for Canadian dairy farms is an ongoing one. Improvements in precision agricultural technologies and research will continue to fuel changes that further reduce our environmental impact.

Shareable Quote

We don’t own the land; we just borrow the land from our kids.
Peter Strebel, Strebel & Sons Farm

Our dairy farmers work harmoniously with the land and their herd, all with the goal of providing future generations of Canadians with nutritious, pure Canadian milk.

What’s next?

The environment: Our legacy for future generations

Canadian dairy farms are typically family-owned and passed down from generation to generation.

Learn more
Farming for the future: the sustainability of dairy farming

Canadian dairy farmers work with the land and animals to make a living, so we have great reason to care about the environment.

Learn more