As you may have realised, sustainability has become a sort of buzzword in the farming industry over the past few years. But what is it and how can it help your farm?
Sustainability is the practice of meeting needs without wasting or compromising the future wellbeing of our resources. So, sustainability in farming refers to how we can continue to farm the land, without depleting it fully. If we, as farmers, don’t put sustainable practices at the heart of our farming, we may not have fields to farm or cows to milk in the future.
Therefore, sustainability is one of the most crucial aspects of developing an effective and profitable business plan. If you don’t have a farm, how can you continue to run your business?
Getting this message across to consumers can be tricky because the idea of the effects of unsustainable farming methods seems out of reach and as though it is too far in the future to be of any concern.
This is why it is up to farmers and producers to make sustainability marketable and attractive for consumers. Not only do we have a responsibility to market sustainability to consumers effectively, we also have to work on improving and developing our current practices to prioritise our farms, the land, and our cows.
The future is manure
There are three opportunities that can be used to market sustainability. The first opportunity involves figuring out a way to use the nutrients on the farm effectively and profitably. This may lead farmers to develop more manure-based products that can be sold off-site and ensure that these nutrients are not being wasted.
Incentivising the environment
The second opportunity is about incentivising environmental systems by using ecosystem service markets. These markets are put in place to benefit the farms as a whole. For example, by using ecosystem services, the farm is able to benefit from clean water, food, land, delivery of goods and services, erosion control, pollination, and medicine offered by nature and the surrounding environment.
These benefits are seen as a way to finance the environment and make it more sustainable. This is done by introducing regulatory limits, trading amendments, and managing the market and its needs to determine whether the ecosystem’s services are reaching their full potential.
Basically, by viewing the environment as a market, we can determine when we are creating a profitable environment for nature to thrive, and when we are hindering its abilities to provide food, water, nutrients, and soil erosion services to our farms.
Renewable gas is the way
The final opportunity available to dairy farmers is to collect animal manure, stabilise the methane content, and produce a biogas that is a renewable natural gas. This can be used to fuel gas vehicles naturally and reduce the pollution created by vehicles.
Repurposing these energy systems and organic materials can help to benefit not only the dairy industry, but the world. 75% of the carbon monoxide pollution in the United States is caused by vehicles. If dairy farms across the world can contribute to the production of renewable natural gas, we can greatly reduce the pollution levels and create an optimal environment for our cows to produce top quality milk.
If we want to ensure the continuation of our farms and dairy production, we are going to have to find away to make sustainability marketable and profitable. These three opportunities are a good start but we should continue to develop our farming practices.
Stay tuned to see what else you can be doing to make your farming more sustainable.