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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 376-385 in Fifth International Dairy Housing Proceedings of the 29-31 January 2003 Conference (Fort Worth, Texas USA)  701P0203.(doi:10.13031/2013.11647)
Authors:   P. E. Wright, B. J. Holmes, L. Holloway
Keywords:   Dairy, Environmental Management Systems, Assessments

An environmental management system (EMS) was designed to identify practices that pose risks to human health and the environment and develop a plan to reduce those risks. A dairy business may benefit from this process by increasing market opportunities, controlling regulation costs, controlling production costs as well as reducing environmental risks. The US Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the value of this process in other industries and is encouraging agriculture to adopt it as well. A nationwide research program has been initiated to develop environmental management systems for poultry, beef and dairy operations. Idaho, New York and Wisconsin have initiated pilot programs to develop and test the use of environmental management systems on dairy farms. The objectives of this project are to:

    1. Develop, test, and implement components of an EMS that are considered most helpful by dairy producers.

    2. Identify and develop the support mechanism that will encourage producers to adopt EMS and study the extent of changes that are made as a result of adopting the EMS.
This paper explains the components of an EMS as described by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 standard, the portions most applicable to dairy farms, and the tools being developed for testing its use on dairy farms in three pilot states. Each state will use a similar set of components with some variation based on local conditions. A major component of an EMS is an environmental assessment that helps producers determine whether a practice or procedure used on their farm is an environmental low risk or high risk. From this assessment a producer can determine where a good job is being accomplished and where improvements are needed.

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