Regenerative Dairy?

When you google for case studies and examples about the positive effects of cows on biodiversity, ecosystems, and climate, the prominent ones to pop-up are almost always cow-calf-examples. „Show us examples for dairy!“ my dairy farmers within a current project challenge me. And I totally understand the wish to see working transitions.

So, where are all the Regenerative Dairy operations

In all different ecoregions on all continents. It just takes a bit to find them.

Why?

On a recent webinar, British dairy farmer Dan Burdett made his own assumptions:
„Dairy is last to the party because of high levels of debt, no driving force worldwide, and assumption that grassland equals a positive effect.“

Luckily, this is changing rapidly. Danone, Arla, First Milk are working with pilot farms.

But change happens especially from and on a farm level where the real pain, pressure, and the risk of a failing system lie.

And these farms often don’t have the time to write long public posts or articles about what they do differently. Or search engines just don’t rank their websites high enough.

So, how does regenerative dairy look like?

Always different. If you’re first goal is to extend your grazing days, reduce supplements, keep calves with mothers, or enhance diversity – all while building soil and resilience – almost every dairy farm I’ve been to has their own specific way of making regeneration possible.

The Solawi Tangsehl, Hof Stolze Kuh or KUHproKLIMA are wonderful examples in different contexts in Germany.

The one thing they have in common: They adjusted known practices to their site and came up with their own solution within their ecological, financial, and social context. All while letting the principles of a regenerative mindset guide them.

Maybe it’s going to need quite some rethinking for your context, maybe it’s only a couple of tweaks.

Dairy might be last to the party, but let’s make it worth it!

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