U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative

Accelerating progress toward the 2050 environmental goals by advancing research and technology, on-farm pilots and new market development.

Farmer feeding cows on a farm

Producing food to feed the world is facing unprecedented challenges. From the lingering impacts of the pandemic to the urgency needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity, immediate action is needed to build a more resilient food system. U.S. dairy farmers recognize they have a responsibility to support healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet by providing nutrient-rich, responsibly made products.

Building on the daily efforts of dairy farmers across the country to care for their land, the collective dairy industry has set aggressive environmental goals to build a more sustainable food system.

The Dairy Industry's 2050 Environmental Goals

Infographic About U.S. Dairy's Three Main Collective Commitments

Reaching these goals will require an industry-wide effort. The U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative (NZI) is a collaboration of dairy organizations to advance research, on-farm pilots and new market development to make sustainability practices more accessible and affordable to farms of all sizes.

NZI closes knowledge gaps and advances innovation across four key areas of dairy production: feed, enteric methane, manure and energy. The practices and technologies needed to reach the goals largely exist, but require further development, investment in operational changes and advanced technical assistance. 

NZI is informed by and designed for U.S. dairy producers. Recognizing there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the initiative represents more than 30,000 independent farms, 94% of which are family-owned. It supports U.S. dairy farms to implement new technologies, adopt economically viable practices and create new markets and products, presenting new revenue opportunities for the environmental assets they generate.

nfographic about the NZI Key Areas Of Focus: Enteric Methane, Feed, Manure & Energy


NZI Programs

NZI projects and programs aim to break down barriers to help make progress toward the goals while improving farmer livelihood. The following programs seek to empower all farms to reduce their environmental impact – in an economically viable way that positions them to thrive for generations to come. This is a pioneering effort – if solved for dairy, the learnings can be transferred to other parts of agriculture, becoming a catalyst for broader change.

Featured NZI programs include:

Led by six national dairy organizations:

Partners and Collaborators

NZI unites the assets and expertise of dairy trade, professional and industry organizations, and their constituents—bringing together the dairy community, corporate partners (including Nestlé and Starbucks), land grant and research institutions, non-governmental organizations (including the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research), and other stakeholders.

Partners bring expertise, leadership and financial support to NZI, which both strengthen the approach and accelerate action leading to results. As NZI moves forward, diverse partnerships and collaboration across both private and public sectors will continue to grow.