Dairy farming holds significant importance in India, K Rathnam, contributing substantially to the nation’s growth through milk and its byproducts. However, beyond its economic impact, dairy-related activities exert a considerable toll on the environment and climate, primarily due to CO2 emissions. Dr. K. Rathnam, the CEO of Milk Mist, emphasizes the potential of regenerative dairy farming as a solution to address these environmental concerns. By adopting regenerative practices that focus on sustainability, soil health, and reduced carbon footprint, dairy farming can mitigate its environmental impact and pave the way for a more sustainable and climate-friendly future for the industry.
Dr. K. Rathnam underscores the importance of preserving the climate from detrimental emissions. The prevailing situation and heightened awareness about climate change have spurred efforts to accelerate actions against the planet’s deterioration. In this context, Dr. Rathnam advocates for regenerative dairy as the solution, highlighting its ability to curb CO2 emissions through meticulous management of cows, fields, feed, and energy consumption. By adopting sustainable practices and minimizing environmental impacts, regenerative dairy farming emerges as a promising approach to mitigate the industry’s carbon footprint, contributing to a more sustainable and climate-resilient future for agriculture and the planet.
Despite being a decades-old concept, the pressing need for implementation is now keenly felt. This holistic farming approach prioritizes soil health and animal welfare above all else, with a clear focus on enhancing biodiversity, improving soil health, protecting grasslands from erosion, and increasing carbon capture in the soil. By adopting these practices, agriculture can become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, paving the way for a resilient and healthier ecosystem.
Dr. K Rathnam Milky Mist clarifies that regenerative dairy farming is often mistakenly equated with sustainable farming. However, he emphasizes the distinction, explaining that sustainable farming aims to maintain a balance to prevent further damage, whereas regenerative dairy farming goes a step further. It is centered on rejuvenating lost or degrading ecological systems, seeking to restore and enhance the environment for a more resilient and thriving future.
According to the report by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), a prominent not-for-profit policy research institution in Asia, Google searches for sustainable agriculture, agroecology, regenerative agriculture, organic farming, and natural farming are on the rise. However, the findings also indicate that many people lack a clear understanding of the distinctions between these terms, often using them interchangeably. This highlights the need for greater awareness and education about the unique approaches and practices associated with each concept in the realm of agriculture.
Milky Mist’s CEO reveals that statistically, organic farming leads the way with 18.8 million search results, followed by sustainable agriculture with 9.9 million, agroecology with 5.2 million, natural farming with 1.5 million, and finally, regenerative agriculture with 0.9 million. He highlights the distinctiveness of these farming concepts and expresses concern over regenerative agriculture’s relatively low search results, indicating a need for more attention and awareness towards this approach.
To gain insights into the application of regenerative farming methods, it is essential to consider how organic farmers are increasingly emphasizing biodiversity. Year after year, they assess soil health through third-party soil carbon analyses, which helps them to self-evaluate and improve their practices.
When examining organic milk production, farmers have shifted their focus to nutrient cycling and proactive pest control, avoiding the use of industrial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. As part of regenerative farming, they now maintain permanent grassland for their cows by adopting crop rotation practices, which play an integral role in their sustainable approach.
The world’s focus revolves around preserving environmental balance. For India, the demand for achieving this equilibrium was seemingly addressed through the Green Revolution. This revolution implemented an input-intensive and technology-focused approach to avert famines, enhance food security, and reduce the nation’s reliance on imports.
K. Rathnam points out that while India achieved self-sufficiency through the Green Revolution, the long-term consequences, such as degrading topsoil, declining groundwater levels, water body contamination, and loss of biodiversity, have become devastatingly evident. Hence, this matured decision has also resulted in negative effects, which can only be rectified through the adoption of regenerative farming practices.
The CEO adds that crop yields now rely heavily on increased fertilizer usage for sustenance. Fragmented land holdings and low farm incomes are compelling many smallholders to seek non-farm economic activities. These challenges, once seemingly insurmountable, have become more pressing due to the impact of climate change.
As previously discussed regarding soil health and animal welfare solutions, India has the opportunity to optimize the use of its fertile land. By adopting regenerative techniques, the nation can increase organic milk production per feed, provide cattle with precise protein amounts, and reduce the quantity of fertilizers needed. This approach offers a promising path towards sustainable and efficient agricultural practices.
Having served the nation extensively, Milky Mist is committed to sharing knowledge and ideas that empower the country. With a strong emphasis on regenerative farming, the dairy firm is dedicated to raising awareness about addressing climate change, ensuring a sustainable and secure future for the Earth.