Organic Valley has begun working with over 15 technical partners on a project to help sequester carbon and lower emissions.
The Organic Valley Carbon Insetting Program — OVCIP — is doubling in size with the aid of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Climate-Smart Commodities grant.
“The Carbon Insetting Program is not just about adapting to climate change. It’s about leading the way for the rest of the industry and showing that dairy can be part of the solution,” says Nicole Rakobitsch, Organic Valley director of sustainability. “We’re bringing groundbreaking innovation to our organic farming model that has already proven to be successful in reducing our carbon footprint.”
Rakobitsch walks Mid-West Farm Report through the logistics of the program, including how carbon is measured and what a ‘climate-smart’ practice entails:
One of the primary practices in the OVCIP focuses on helping farmers expand grazing areas. A recent lifecycle analysis of Organic Valley dairy farms by UW-Madison indicates that grazing methods can lower carbon emissions. While the farms in the cooperative already graze cows on pasture, OVCIP will increase the carbon sequestering capability.
In addition, OVCIP will incentivize many farmers to sequester more carbon by planting new trees within their farm boundaries. Referred to as agroforestry, these practices will include silvopasture, riparian forest buffers, windbreaks, hedgerows and alley cropping. OVCIP will also focus heavily on methane reduction opportunities. This includes enteric feed supplements and changes to manure management like dry storage and composting.
“As a farmer, my family and I have been stewards of the land for generations. With the Organic Valley Carbon Insetting Program, we’re able to take our commitment to sustainable farming to the next level. We’re not just milking cows and growing crops — we’re working to build a healthier planet,” says Organic Valley Wisconsin farmer Chris Wilson.
Learn more about the USDA’s Climate-Smart initiative: https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2023/09/13/vilsack-champions-climate-smart-while-in-wisconsin/