Farmers are the original environmental stewards

The FARM Environmental Stewardship Program helps tell that story for dairy farmers. This program area details a comprehensive estimate of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use on dairy farms, and provides tools and resources for farmers to measure and improve their footprint.

The tool is based on a life cycle assessment (LCA) of fluid milk conducted by the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas published in 2013, incorporating data from more than 500 dairy farms across the United States. The FARM Environmental Stewardship module asks a set of questions to assess a farm’s carbon and energy footprint – reducing the burden on farmers while still providing reliable, statistically robust estimates that explain 98% of the variability in total carbon footprint.


One cow in 2007 produced fives times as much milk as one cow in 1944
From 1944 to 2007, the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk decreased by


FARM Environmental Stewardship Conservation Practice Questionnaire

FARM Environmental Stewardship recently launched the Conservation Practice Questionnaire (CPQ): an optional add-on questionnaire to the FARM Environmental Stewardship Version 2 evaluation. The existing FARM Environmental Stewardship evaluation focuses on greenhouse gas emissions and energy use; the CPQ goes beyond these topics to ask about dairy farmers’ field and dairy-level conservation practices to capture a more holistic sustainability story.

CPQ development benefited from wide input and feedback via the FARM Environmental Stewardship Task Force, the FARM Farmer Advisory Council, the NMPF Environmental Issues Committee, additional dairy stakeholders, and more. The CPQ was also piloted on 31 dairy farms through 9 organizations in the winter of 2022; recommendations from the pilot were incorporated into the final version.

Organizations that participate in FARM Environmental Stewardship Version 2 have the option to voluntarily sign on to use the CPQ. Organizations may choose not to use the CPQ with no impact on their participation in FARM Environmental Stewardship otherwise.

FARM Environmental Stewardship Leadership

Meet the Team

Frequently Asked Questions

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Featured Resources

Environmental Stewardship Evaluation Prep Guide
Environmental Stewardship Reference Manual
Dairy Life-Cycle Assessment Research Paper
Environmental Stewardship Peer-Reviewed Model Paper
FARM ES Version 2 Fact Sheet
Using the FARM ES Sampling Protocol Spreadsheet
ES User Guide Version 2

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