Milk Roadmap Needs to Keep Dairy Profitable as Well as Green

The NFU on Friday welcomed Defra's Milk Roadmap aimed at raising environmental standards, building on the sector's growing success to improve its performance.
calendar icon 5 May 2008
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

The Roadmap has been launched to help the dairy industry reduce its potential impact on the environment and improve performance throughout the whole liquid milk supply chain. The NFU has worked closely with Defra to ensure the Roadmap takes account of the great achievements already made in the dairy sector and to develop targets that are realistic, achievable and in no way compromise the economic viability of dairy farming.

NFU dairy board chairman Gwyn Jones said: "In producing this Roadmap we have tried to be ambitious, yet responsible, and have devised a set of targets that should be achievable for the industry, given the right support mechanisms from government and others. Profitability is the cornerstone of dairy farmers' ability to improve the environment and the Milk Roadmap is about improving environmental performance, without compromising productivity."

The dairy industry has already come a long way in reducing its environmental impact. The Environmental Plan for Dairy Farming is an example of the sector taking responsibility for addressing its environmental challenges. It promotes integrated solutions helping farmers deliver environmental improvements that make economic as well as environmental sense. The Roadmap recognises the Plan's success and builds on the wider achievements the industry has made. Some of these include:

  • Since 1990 methane emissions, often negatively associated with livestock, have fallen by 13.5 per cent.
  • Fertiliser usage in agriculture has reduced by some 30 per cent over the last ten years, with a reduction of nitrogen application to dairy farms of 46 per cent
  • Serious pollution incidents caused by farming were down by 35 per cent to their lowest ever level in 2006.
Mr Jones added: "These reductions have been made for a number of reasons - for example, in response to consumer demand through retailer-led initiatives, or because in many cases environmental savings result in efficiency and monetary gains. Farmers can and will respond to the need to go even further, but this is best achieved through incentives and voluntary initiatives. However, we recognise more can be done and dairy farmers are increasingly taking responsibility for their environmental impacts.

"The targets set out in the Milk Roadmap demonstrate that commitment."

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