Organic Dairy Calculator

Dr. Charles Benbrook’s calculator estimates the benefits of organic dairy.

| April 2009 Web

  • Dr. Charles Benvrook’s calculator is helping the organic dairy industry and the planet.
    Photo By tomhensr/Courtesy Flickr

Organic Center, a nonprofit scientific research company based in Boulder, Colorado, created a 10 Step Table calculator that estimates the number of hormones and chemicals avoided through organic dairy farming practices. Dr. Charles Benbrook, chief scientist at the Organic Center, released his 2008 findings and the calculator last month.
The Excel-based calculator is a set of 10 mini calculators, or tables, that factor in different conditions, such as milk production, size of the farm, herd size and exposure to pastures. This is helpful for organic dairy companies to track their production of dairy and its environmental impact on the planet.

Once all of the tables are complete, the overall findings are computed, and you can see an estimate of the amount of hormones and other environmental impacts avoided through organic dairy practices.

The goal of this project was to help organic dairy companies calculate their environmental impact from dairy farming. Stonyfield Farms and other organic dairy providers contacted Dr. Benbrook for assistance in projecting the benefits, both environmentally and nutritiously, of organic dairy products.

Eating organic food is better for you because there are no chemicals in the food; this is especially true for milk and other dairy products. Dr. Benbrook’s findings reveal the conditions of conventionally raised cows; they are pumped with hormones; crammed into feed-lot based farms; have limited pasture exposure, which affects their diet; and they are often fed corn or corn-based products. Limited time in pastures is detrimental for cows as they receive most of their nutrients from grazing. Substituting this with corn or corn-based products fails to meet a cow’s dietary needs. For these reasons, along with the environmental benefits of organically raised cows, Dr. Benbrook recommends organic dairy products.

More about organic food

• Read about how First Lady Michelle Obama is supporting organic food by planting an organic vegetable garden at the White House.

• Curry Love organic curries will spice up dinner. Read the review!

• Avoid pesticides and eat healthy. Find out why organic food is more nutritious.

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