“The potential is amazing, I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it!”
- 12 December 2019
Growing up on a dairy farm, Hanne Bang Bligaard, senior manager in the farm performance team, is certainly no stranger when it comes to cows, she even studied animal science with a particular focus on them. Her curiosity to understand the potential of cutting carbon by working with cows and their feed led her to Arla. Here she part of the team behind the new Climate Check Programme.
“It comes as a surprise to most people that the big potential for reducing a farm’s carbon footprint lies in the farmers working with their cows and their feed, it’s here where the big emissions come from. Electricity and fuel usage account for only a small per cent but I know for a lot of people it’s easier to relate to a windmill,” she says smiling.
Asked to elaborate on how exactly cows, feed and carbon are interlinked, Hanne says it is really quite simple.
“It’s about not wasting feed and using it as efficiently as possible. We have a fantastic opportunity to use the results from the climate check to further guide the farmers and help them take action on their feed use and feed efficiency not only for the benefit of the climate, but for the benefit of the cows and the farm’s economy. The potential is amazing, I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it!”
This potential is set to be released next year, when all 9,900 of our farmer owners have the opportunity to sign up to the new Climate Check, which includes everything that happens on farm, not only in relation to feed.
Having been heavily involved in the development of the new programme, which has been tested during the last 12 months by 200 farmers, Hanne describes a huge sense of pride that Arla is really leading the way when it comes to sustainable dairy farming.
“For me, the attraction of working with sustainability is that I see first-hand all the good the farmers came do for the benefit of the environment, not only in terms of reducing their carbon footprint, but how they work with the land and contribute to biodiversity. And we must constantly remind ourselves of the fact that the milk they produce has such a high nutritional value. I passionately believe it has a big role to play in a sustainable diet.”
Asked if she would describe herself as an eco-warrior, Hanne laughs. “No, but it is constantly in my mind. In fact, it really hit me the other day that we should all apply the principle we’re encouraging are farmers to: Don’t waste resources, think of how you can get the most out of them. It could be heating your house, the amount of electricity you use versus what you actually need to. Basically, use as little as possible for the most benefit.
“One thing I think a lot about is food waste because the insights my role gives me means I know just how much it takes to produce a potato, a piece of steak or a glass of milk, for example. I try really hard to use everything I buy, I think it is important, both out of respect for the environment and the hard work of farmers.”
Want to know more about Arla’s new Climate Check programme, go to: https://www.arla.com/sustainability/sustainable-dairy-farming/