NMPF executive committee member stresses sustainability at House AG hearing

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Source: National Milk Producers Federation

NMPF Board of Directors member and California dairy producer Melvin Medeiros told a House Agriculture subcommittee today that dairy farmers have made significant sustainability gains and stand ready to serve environmental solutions to make even further progress.

“U.S. dairy farmers are environmental stewards. We tend with great care to our land and water to improve the resources on our farms and ensure future generations can carry on our important work of feeding the nation and the world,” said Medeiros, a member of the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative who serves on NMPF’s Executive Committee, in a hearing of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.

“We value a proactive approach to sustainability, which can take many different forms, and we have adapted as agricultural practices and technologies have evolved and improved over time,” said Medeiros, who owns and operates a 1,600-cow dairy in Hanford, CA. “Farmers place a high importance on land and water stewardship, and our family farm-owners continue to perfect these practices through sustainable innovations on the farm.”

Medeiros in his testimony at the virtual hearing cited research showing that producing a gallon of milk in 2017 required 30% less water, 21% less land, had a 19% smaller carbon footprint, and produced 20% less manure than it did in 2007. He also cited dairy’s Net Zero Initiative as an example of proactive, producer-led agricultural leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Medeiros also asked lawmakers to support policy improvements that would assist producers in sustainability efforts, such as enhanced funding for conservation programs with greater emphasis on areas like feed and manure management, an investment tax credit to cover the upfront capital costs of digesters to help reduce methane emissions, and expedited approval of innovative animal feed additives that can significantly diminish enteric emissions. NMPF has previously hailed the landmark conservation funding increases in the Build Back Better Act and hopes that Congress will provide the funding needed to bolster these critical programs.

NMPF worked closely with Medeiros and DFA to help strongly spotlight the dairy industry’s priorities and concerns during the hearing.

“NMPF and the dairy producers it represents are grateful to the House Agriculture Committee for inviting Melvin to highlight dairy’s commitment to a more sustainable future,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “But as he noted, improving sustainability will also require improving public policy to aid farmers in their critical stewardship mission. We stand ready to partner with Congress to get the job done.”