The Food and Drug Administration has confirmed the safety and efficacy of methane-reducing feed ingredient Bovaer in lactating dairy cows, Elanco Animal Health said Tuesday.

The ingredient has the potential to significantly reduce enteric methane emissions from cows. Elanco says feeding a tablespoon of Bovaer can reduce methane emissions about 30%, or about 1.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually. 

It also creates a way for dairy farmers to be financially rewarded for reducing their dairy’s carbon footprint, Elanco said.

“By engaging in voluntary carbon markets and securing USDA and state conservation programming, dairy producers have a scalable sustainability practice with the potential to create an annual return of $20 or more per lactating cow by feeding Bovaer,” said Katie Cook, vice president of livestock sustainability and farm animal marketing at Elanco.

“Our goal is to make this opportunity a reality starting this summer, while creating a self-sustaining carbon inset market for American agriculture.”

The company said that feeding 1 million cows Bovaer “would reduce emissions equivalent to removing more than 285,000 cars from the road for a year.”

A car emits about 4.6 metric tons of CO2 equivalent a year, according to EPA.

“Bovaer represents another blockbuster potential innovation in Elanco’s portfolio and further accelerates livestock sustainability, the next billion-dollar plus market in animal health,” the company said. “This innovation is expected to accelerate market development and increase innovation in this space.”

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The ingredient was developed by Royal DSM (now dsm-firmenich) in Holland, which Elanco entered into a licensing agreement with in 2022. The ingredient was approved for use in Europe in 2022 and in Canada earlier this year, and also can be used in Mexico. In all, it is available for use commercially in 58 countries.

Elanco said it has agreed with dsm-firmenich “to expand Elanco’s commercialization of Bovaer across North America.” In addition to the U.S., Elanco will also now have the right to market Bovaer in Canada and Mexico, where the product is already available for use in beef and dairy cattle.

“Products like Elanco’s Bovaer will allow U.S. farmers to be rewarded for participating in voluntary, producer-led sustainability efforts,” said Gregg Doud, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. 

“Consumers around the world are demanding lower-carbon foods. Bovaer is an innovation that can help U.S. dairy farmers remain globally competitive and maintain their role as leaders in more sustainable dairy production.”

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