CHICAGO – The Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) is working with nonprofit organization Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) to create a dairy traceability standard for farm operations, downstream supply chains and supporting technology partners.

The $4.7 million project, funded through the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities, will help small dairy producers access climate-smart grazing technology and engage in a climate-smart marketplace for their products.

Per IFT, as GFTC works on the DGA-led project it will map farm-generated climate attributes and critical product traceability data, and the standard created will be similar to one it developed for seafood.

“Managed dairy grazing is a tremendous tool to help mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to traditional management practices, but we cannot address carbon emissions in the dairy industry without a better way to capture, measure and share this information from one end of the supply chain to the other,” said Blake Harris, GFTC technical director. “By creating a dairy-focused traceability standard that captures GHG attributes and by working closely with DGA and its other partners on this project, we can help enable real environmental change in the dairy industry.”

GFTC develops resources, tools and training, and creates customizable services to support traceability. IFT also noted addressing supply chain challenges and creating opportunities are also a key part of GFTC’s work. Following the US Food and Drug Administration’s introduction of the traceability rule for the Food Safety Modernization Act, IFT shared, GFTC created a number of educational tools to aid in compliance.

DGA administers a federally registered apprenticeship in managed grazing dairy production. The project is one of 71 selected for the USDA’s second pool of funding. In total, the Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities will invest $3.1 billion into 141 projects.