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Virtual Farm Website for Dairy Climate Change and Sustainability Information

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

Citation:  10th International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES X)  .(doi:10.13031/iles.18-134)
Authors:   Eileen Fabian-Wheeler, Daniel Hofstetter, Rebecca Larson, Horacio Aguirre-Villegas, Carolyn Rumery Betz
Keywords:   Climate Change, Dairy, Data, Website, Extension, Greenhouse Gas, Life Cycle Assessment.

Abstract. A website “virtual farm” dairy is the Extension dissemination piece for a USDA-funded project, the Dairy Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP), which includes sustainability and climate change information from a variety of sources. The goal is to offer management practices relevant to sustainable dairies and the environment packaged into one accessible place. One unique aspect is the ability to interact with layers of information starting with the most basic of interest to the general public yet offering the ability to dig deeper through practical information to science-based articles, models and data. The landing page is an idealized layout depicting either a 150-cow or 1,500-cow modern dairy farm. Users browse the landing page to learn about basic features of dairy farms, and what impact they have on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change issues. Within deeper levels, details include herd management, manure management, cropping systems, water quality and the effect of changing weather patterns. Findings from computer process-based models are included for scenarios of dairy farms adopting mitigation and adaptation practices. The site also provides visitors access to data from dietary trials aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions where the cow manure was then stored and land applied for a complete cycle of air emission analysis. The site information incorporates a broad theme of sustainability targeted at farming operations in the Great Lakes region of the USA primarily through collaboration of University of Wisconsin-Madison, Penn State University, Cornell University and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

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