A U.N. report measuring the livestock industry’s contribution to global warming says emissions can be reduced with practices already utilized by the most efficient operators.

The U.N. says its report, Tackling climate change through livestock: A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities,” is the most comprehensive estimate on the topic to date.

The report claims 14.5 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions stem from livestock supply chains, with feed production and processing, outputs of GHG during digestion by cows, and manure decomposition listed as the primary contributors.

The study shows improvements to the industry can cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30 percent.

That percentage can be reduced through technologies in feeding, manure and health and husbandry management in addition to the best animal handling practices.

Changes to the system require solutions from all stakeholders, bringing together the private and public sector, civil society research and academia and international organizations.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), established the Global Agenda of Action in Support of Sustainable Livestock Sector Development and identified three priorities for improvement: promoting more efficient practices, improved grassland management and better manure management.

Improved practices wouldn’t require livestock operators to change production systems, but increased demand for livestock products, especially in developing countries, will require some updates and modifications to offset increases in overall emissions.

Changes to the system not only benefit the environment, but livestock producers as well. The U.N. claims many of the recommendations for improving efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions also boost production, providing people with more food and higher incomes, with benefits for food security and poverty reduction.

One under-utilized technology named is higher production from biogas generators and energy-saving devices.

“These new findings show that the potential to improve the sector’s environmental performance is significant – and that realizing that potential is indeed do-able,” said Ren Wang, FAO Assistant Director-General for Agriculture and Consumer Protection.

Read the report.