CQP - certified dairy farmers frequently applied stewardship practices to protect and conserve natural resources, including water, soils, wildlife habitats, and energy sources. These practices help maintain the natural resources necessary for drinking water, food production, and quality of life while minimizing the negative environmental impacts of dairy agriculture. Their conservation efforts provided an estimated $120 million of non-market values, such as open space, clean water, scenic views, wildlife habitat, food production, wood products, and real estate values for local communities.
Water Quality Protection
Clean water is essential to supply drinking water and habitat for aquatic wildlife. Over 90% of dairy farmers reported applying practices to minimize nutrient runoff and protect water quality. About 80% of dairy farmers apply practices to minimize the use of fertilizers.
Healthy soils are the basis of agriculture stewardship and essential for productive farms. CQP-certified dairy farmers apply soil conservation practices to minimize soil erosion and avoid the over use of nutrients (fertilizers and manure) that can pollute water. In 2010, a majority of dairy farmers have a state- or NRCS-approved nutrient management plan. Dairy farmers employ these nutrient management plans to efficiently use manure and fertilizers so that they produce reliable quantities of feed, improve farm soils, minimize the cost of wasted nutrients, and avoid nutrient runoff into lakes and rivers. Wildlife Conservation
Wildlife is a key part of every ecosystem and provides viewing enjoyment and opportunities for hunting, and fishing. Many dairy farmers manage some portion of their farm for wildlife. On average, dairy farmers manage >20% of their lands primarily for wildlife. This amounts to an estimated 23,800 acres of private lands managed for wildlife.
Conserving energy can reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while saving farmers money. CQP-certified dairy farmers apply at least one energy conservation measure on their farm. Dairy farms use of energy conservation measures and renewable energy much more frequently than other farms in New England. Dairy farmers conduct energy and they often apply other measures to reduce energy use, including pre-heaters, efficient lighting, variable speed pumps, and efficient fans. Dairy farmers use one or more types of renewable energy on their farm like outdoor wood boilers or other types of wood heat. They also use energy from wind, solar, and/or methane digesters more frequently than farmers in New England.