Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

By Nicole Rossi
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Animal Science
  • Agriculture
  • Field Crops
  • Animals
  • Dairy

Over the last 20 years, the Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program (NMSP) has worked with dairy farmers across New York state to employ research aimed at reducing agricultural operations’ environmental footprint.

NMSP’s Dairy Sustainability Key Indicators Project partners with farmers and farm advisers to conduct research that shows precisely how dairy farmers are making strides in such areas as nutrient use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, water quality impacts, animal and plant production efficiencies, and biodiversity on farms. Chobani is one of the biggest funders for this project in the hopes to develop and identify how applied research can help the industry make informed decisions about nutrients across the farm.

“Dairy sustainability is at the forefront of the dairy industry’s attention,” said Quirine Ketterings, professor of nutrient management in the Department of Animal Science in Cornell CALS and director of NSMP. “There’s peer pressure and a desire from within the industry to address ag and environmental management.”

Hear from three farmers participating in the Dairy Sustainability Key Indicators Project and learn more about the impacts of NMSP’s applied research.

EZ Acres Farm

For the last 15+ years, EZ Acres Farm has worked closely with NMSP to reduce the farm's environmental impacts. Integrating extension into their farm operations, Mike and Edie McMahon deployed nutrient management practices to minimize their carbon footprint and improve water quality, all while keeping their feed bill low.

Table Rock Farm

Meghan Hauser and her team at Table Rock Farm are investing in a brighter future for sustainable dairy. Leveraging on-farm research collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program, Table Rock Farm's solutions-oriented approach elevates not just their own operations but the broader New York State dairy community.

Spruce Haven Farm

Since 1987, Doug Young, the owner of Spruce Haven Farm has relied on applied research with NMSP and experts at Cornell Animal Science to help improve the sustainability and profitability of his farm. From utilizing the power from anaerobic digesters to nutrient mass balance assessments, Doug is working hard to reduce his farm's carbon footprint.

Footage by Daniella Garcia-Almeida Loos ’25 and Nicole Rossi

Editing by Daniella Garcia-Almeida Loos ’25, Caroline Stamm ’24 and Nicole Rossi

Daniella Garcia-Almeida Loos ’25 and Caroline Stamm ’24 are student communications assistants for the Cornell CALS Department of Animal Science. 

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