Have a question about what really happens on dairy farms? See how New England farmers care for their land, cows and feed people in a responsible way using modern technology.

Is Cow Manure Bad For The Environment?

A dairy cow produces as much as 120 pounds of manure a day. However, farmers recognize that manure is a valuable resource to be recycled instead of wasted. Manure contains important nutrients for growing plants, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Applying manure to farm fields reduces or eliminates the need to add these nutrients via chemical fertilizers. Anaerobic digester systems allow farmers to go a step further and recycle manure into biofuel or clean, renewable electricity. In America, the dairy industry is responsible for only about 2 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. milk production has the lowest carbon footprint per gallon compared to all other countries.

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Cow Poop Infographic


Anaerobic digester systems recycle manure into clean, renewable electricity to power the farm. Surplus electricity is available to power nearby homes and businesses. There are now over 250 anaerobic digesters across the country, including 22 in New England. See how it works!

How Are Dairy Farmers Protecting Our Water And Soil?

Healthy soil is essential for nutritious food and clean water. Farmers are adopting soil-building practices, such as covering their fields with plants all year long, and many use apps on their smart phones to precisely track the amount of nitrogen that is applied to their fields in manure or fertilizer. That way, they only use exactly what the plants can use, ensuring these nutrients stay in the ground.

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How Do Dairy Farmers Treat Their Animals?

Healthy and happy cows make high quality, nutritious milk. Dairy farmers use new technologies to keep their ladies comfy. Did you know that cows have back scratchers set up for them in the barn? At many farms, cows can create their own milking schedule thanks to robotic milking machines. This has shown to increase their happiness and milk production. Check out how farm technology is improving the lives of dairy cows.

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Are Dairy Foods GMO?

Milk is not genetically modified. Dairy cows may be fed genetically modified crops such as corn; however, there is no evidence to suggest negative health or productivity effects in animals fed these crops. The plants are digested by the cow, and the resulting dairy products do not contain GMOs. If a dairy product contains other ingredients, you can check to see if those are bioengineered. Under organic farming guidelines, organic dairy farms are not allowed to feed their cows genetically modified crops.

Other Resources:

  • GMO one-page PDF – There is lots of uncertainty and questions surrounding GMOs. Here are some answers, resources, and food for thought.