Photo credit: American Dairy Association North East.

Thanks to increasingly modern and innovative dairy farming practices, the environmental impact of producing a gallon of milk has shrunk significantly. The process now requires 30% less water and 21% less land and creates a 19% smaller carbon footprint than it did in 2007. For those keen to learn more, a new Dairy Diaries documentary series takes a look at some of the advances that have led to these improvements.

Beck Farms, a 2,000-cow dairy operation in Freeville, New York, was selected from 80 hopefuls to showcase its operation and demonstrate milk’s journey from farm to fridge.

The fourth-generation operation is run by brothers Austin and Tyler Beck, along with their father Russ, who were only too happy to share their life on the farm.

“We hope Dairy Diaries shows the great pride we take in our responsibility to nourish families with delicious dairy foods,” they said.

Beck Farms has implemented closed-loop circular processes, using their cows’ manure to grow feed on the farm, which helps reduce carbon emissions.

Technology increasingly plays a role in the dairy farm’s operations, including controlling a ‘curtain’ in the barn that automatically opens and closes depending on the weather to create optimal conditions for the cows. Its tech toolkit also includes the SCR Heatime HR System, which Austin Beck describes as “Fitbit for cows.” Digital tags on the cows’ ears track their activity, nutrition, and health, including when they are in heat.

“With the technology, we can basically monitor each cow on an individual basis because when you have 2,000 of them, it’s hard to keep track of them all,” Tyler Beck explained.

U.S.-based readers can catch Dairy Diaries on Roku devices, via the Roku mobile app, and on

Readers in Europe can still ‘visit’ Beck Farms thanks to an American Dairy Association North East video: