FARM Program, NMPF Celebrate Dairy Conservation Efforts on Earth Day

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program released findings from its Conservation Practice Questionnaire highlighting the leading stewardship of dairy farmers as FARM and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) observe Earth Day.

The questionnaire, a voluntary addition to the FARM Environmental Stewardship (ES) Program, highlights some of U.S. dairy farmers’ conservation efforts, including practices and technologies that show effective water, energy and other resource stewardship.

FARM ES launched the questionnaire in August 2022 after significant stakeholder feedback and on-farm piloting. More than 450 of them have been completed on dairy farms across 20 states since its launch, with respondents ranging in milking herd size from 17 cows to more than 15,000. The completed questionnaires offer a lens into the natural resource stewardship of the dairy farmers who participate.

As of March 2024, questionnaires indicate that:

  • 79% of participating dairy farmers reuse or recycle water on their farm: 76% reuse plate cooler water to flush the barn, as drinking water, or for other uses; 14% capture rainwater for cleaning or other use; and 29% reuse water for irrigation;
  • 90% of participating farms report implementing field conservation practices;
  • 68% of participating farmers use recycled manure, recycled sand or byproducts as bedding for their cows; and
  • More than 97% of participating dairy farmers use energy saving technologies and practices.

A two-page document outlining additional findings from the questionnaire is available here.

“Dairy farmers have long been early adopters of sustainable practices and good stewards of the land,” Nicole Ayache, NMPF’s chief sustainability officer, said. “The findings from our Conservation Practice Questionnaire underscore the U.S. dairy industry’s commitment to continuous improvement and finding new ways to be even more sustainable.”

To further support dairy farmer efforts to implement conservation practice and technologies, the FARM Program launched a searchable database of technical and financial resources. Farmers and their technical advisers may use the new resource to identify support suitable to the farm’s conservation goals.

The database contains information from government, non-profit, extension, state planning tools, and many other relevant financial or technical assistance providers and resources. Financial resources include grants, cost-share, loan programs and other incentives available. The database’s first areas of focus are on resources for cover cropping, conservation tillage, energy efficiency, nutrient management, and pollinator habitat.

To learn more about the Conservation Practice Questionnaire, the searchable resource database, or general information about FARM ES, visit