CHICAGO -- Bel Brands USA has announced a new program in partnership with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) – a national dairy cooperative of farm families headquartered in Kansas City, Kan. – to implement and measure sustainable cooling practices designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by cutting on-farm energy usage.

Bel and DFA, who joined forces to help improve on-farm practices, have identified an opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint on dairy farms by integrating more energy-efficient and economically viable milk cooling systems in line with the Net Zero Initiative (NZI), an industry-wide effort led by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Throughout the 12-month pilot program, Bel and DFA will support the adoption of energy-efficient and cost-effective on-farm milk cooling methods, including natural well water cooling methods, by a dairy farm in Iowa that supplies milk to Bel Brands; with Bel co-financing the cooling mechanism. As a secondary benefit, the warm well water used to cool the milk will be fed to the cows at their preferred temperature.

The farm will work with DFA's sustainability team to capture data on the energy and economic savings of the innovative sustainable milk cooling practices compared to the high-energy flash chillers, with the goal of replicating these practices on other U.S. dairy farms in the future, if proven successful.

"At Bel Brands, we are actively working to promote sustainable farming, including responsible dairy production – and have for over 15 years – to help drive a more sustainable and regenerative agriculture industry," said Bill Graham, chief executive officer for Bel Brands USA.

The findings of the program will ultimately help inform future best practices for dairy farm sustainability throughout the supply chain, specifically management and mitigation practices to help address the seasonal spike in energy use without compromising cow care.

“We are committed to nourishing communities while reducing the impact our products and processes have on the environment,” said Jean Michel Dos Remedios, senior director of Sourcing & Supplier Development for Bel Brands USA. “Our partnership with Dairy Farmers of America exemplifies that commitment and gives us an opportunity to partner with dairy farmers to make the industry more sustainable."

"For our farm families, animal care and environment stewardship are a way of life," stated David Darr, senior vice president and chief strategy and sustainability officer for Dairy Farmers of America. "We are proud to be part of a program that is aligned with those values and helps further support our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint."