Sustainable dairy farming
Participation in sustainability programme
The Dutch Dairy Association (Nederlandse Zuivel Organisatie, NZO for short) and the Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture (Land en Tuinbouw Organisatie, LTO for short) have formulated ambitious goals for 2020 within the Dutch Sustainable Dairy Chain collaboration (www.duurzamezuivelketen.nl). Vreugdenhil is translating these goals into a sustainability programme in which we reward our 850 Dutch dairy farmers for sustainability efforts. To receive financial remuneration a dairy farmer must score a minimum of five out of twelve programme points. Every extra effort is recognised by means of a financial reward of up to €0.60 per 100 kg of milk. In 2017, 76% of the dairy farmers received a sustainability incentive premium. In 2016 this was 72%. Dairy farmers received a reward for such aspects as increasing the lifespan of cows, efficient energy consumption, generating renewable energy, biodiversity efforts, land-related activities, involving the community and implementing the KoeKompas (Cow Compass). KoeKompas is an instrument with which veterinarians map the welfare and health of the animals and advise on improvement steps twice a year. Based on consultations with dairy farmers from the focus group, it has been decided to keep the sustainability programme for 2018 at the same level as in 2017.
Lowering greenhouse gas emissions on the farm
Greenhouse gas emissions from the production of milk powder are mainly caused on the farm, resulting from methane emissions from cattle and, to a lesser extent, the use of fossil fuels such as electricity and diesel. We aim to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by awarding an incentive premium for low energy consumption and the generation of renewable energy. In 2017, 7% of dairy farmers generated at least 50% of their electricity consumption themselves sustainably. Our goal was 10%. And 67% of dairy farmers used a maximum of 70 kWh per thousand kilograms of milk. Our goal was 60%. In 2018, we will be introducing a calculation model for dairy farmers with which they can calculate their total greenhouse gas emission, including methane emissions.We have also committed to the following goals for 2020 as part of the sustainable dairy chain: 20% reduction in greenhouse gases in 2020 compared to 1990 and climate-neutral growth and 16% renewable energy.
Involving the community
One of the elements of the sustainability programme is involving the community in the farming sector. In 2017, 42% of our dairy farmers welcomed ten or more people from the community on their farm more than twice. They explained how a healthy product like milk is produced with due care for the animals.
Organic milk powder
In 2017, we started the production of organic milk powder, partly in response to a request from customers.