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Innovating Dairy: Key Insights from National Mall’s Agricultural Panel Discussion

Innovating Dairy: Key Insights from National Mall’s Agricultural Panel Discussion


Washington, D.C. At the recent three-day Celebration of Modern Agriculture on the National Mall, dairy industry leaders highlighted the growing impact of technology on dairy farming and its role in promoting environmental sustainability.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers collaborated with leaders from BouMatic, Delaval, and Lely North America, for a panel discussion focused on how technology contributes to environmental sustainability in the dairy industry.

„The surge of technology on farms is a notable trend,” said Carey Alberg, the Eastern Regional Development Manager at Lely North America. “Our technology focuses on the cow’s well-being, promoting sustainability through improved farm and economic impacts.”

Alberg emphasized that modern technology allows cows to live longer, healthier lives, and helps farmers manage their operations more efficiently.

“Technology fosters generational transfer, encouraging the next generation to return to farming by reducing traditional burdens,” said Alberg.

Patrick Wiltzius, Milking Systems Development Manager at Delaval discussed the ease of integrating new technologies into existing operations. Wiltzius emphasized how they work with producers to make technology adoption seamless, enhancing daily management practices without drastic changes.

“Technology doesn’t necessarily mean starting with a new robotic milking instillation, it can be as easy as putting activity monitors on cows to gain better insights into their health,” said Wiltzius.

The panel also addressed challenges faced by smaller-scale operations. Contrary to expectations, Alberg noted that smaller farms have been early adopters of new technologies, driven by work/life balance and profitability challenges.

Climate impact was a key topic, with the panelists exploring how dairy equipment can help achieve the industry’s climate neutrality goals by 2050.

“Sustainability and high performance are our priorities,” said Brooke Trustem, Marketing and Events Coordinator at BouMatic. “Reducing antibiotic use is an exciting byproduct of healthier cows.”

Alberg highlighted the collaborative efforts needed to acheiev these goals. Sharing that AEM’s diverse member companies must work together, building on each other’s innovations to make lasting change in the industry.

New technologies, such as sensors on cows, robotics, and advanced software solutions are transforming dairy farms. These innovations provide critical data to improve cow health and farm efficiency. However, managing the influx of data can be challenging, and AI integration aims to streamline decision-making.

Panelists also acknowledged the financial hurdles in adopting new technologies. Trustem emphasized the importance of legislative support and sustainable financial practices for farmers to invest in innovative solutions.

“One of the biggest challenges is funding these new technologies,” said Trustem. “There’s a lot of work being done on the federal milk orders, but its critical to have a sustainable way for farmers to make money, in order to invest in solutions for the greater good.”

Reflecting on climate change, Trustem and Wiltzius stressed the importance of industry collaboration and storytelling to policymakers.

„Dairy will be a case study in leveraging technologies from various industries to meet 2050 sustainability goal”, said Wiltzius. “With on-farm technologies, like those on display here on The Mall, together with processors, transportation, regulators, and the general public collaboration will be necessary to reach net neutrality by 2050.”

As the dairy industry navigates these advancements, the focus remains on health, sustainability, and efficient production. The Celebration of Modern Agriculture underscored the ongoing commitment to innovation and environmental stewardship in dairy farming.

About the Celebration of Modern Agriculture on the National Mall:

More than 15,000 people flocked to the National Mall for the second Celebration of Modern Agriculture on the National Mall. The three-day event featured 26 organizations showcasing combine harvesters, milking equipment, sprayers and planters, irrigation equipment, tractors big and small, as well as dozens of interactive and hands-on exhibits by two dozen grower groups and agriculture innovators. This year’s theme, the Future of Food and Farming, showcased the advances that drive American agriculture’s long history of producing more while reducing its environmental footprint.

About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM):

AEM is the North America-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry in the United States supports 2.3 million jobs and contributes roughly $316 billion to the economy every year.