As Pioneering Monitoring Effort Reaches Milestone, Valley Dairy Farmers Deserve Credit for Leadership

Marking another giant step forward for sustainable dairy farming – especially protecting valuable water resources – a non-profit project led by California dairy farmers this month entered a second critical phase to expand the nation’s first dairy monitoring network.

By the end of this year, the Central Valley Dairy Representative Monitoring Program (CVDRMP) will complete installation of wells at dozens of dairies across the Central Valley, from Tehama and Glenn counties in the north to Kern, Kings and Tulare counties in the south, and many sites in between. With hundreds of specially designed monitoring wells, it will be the most sophisticated, comprehensive dairy water quality monitoring effort ever conducted in the U.S.

“Our dairy families can be proud of what we have accomplished together,” said Tom Barcellos, chairman of the 12-member board of dairy producers that oversees CVDRMP activities. “We are building a strong scientific foundation that will tell not only how we are doing in our work to improve water quality in this state, but will guide any future decisions we have to make. Most importantly, we are doing it in a cost-effective manner so that our dairies can be environmentally and economically sustainable.”

In 2009, Dairy Cares members recognized the need to provide Central Valley dairy farmers a cooperative groundwater monitoring program capable of satisfactorily meeting regulatory requirements for sampling and analyzing first-encountered groundwater on dairies. Months of research, meetings and anaylsis led to the conceptualization and formation of what is now CVDRMP.

CVDRMP is a voluntary program. Its members conduct certain required monitoring activities as a group, allowing for more efficient data collection and reduced costs. CVDRMP’s work plan has been reviewed and approved by state water quality officials. CVDRMP relies on strong technical experts, such as hydro-geologists and civil engineers, to ensure that its findings are accurate and provide value to its member dairies and to the state (more information at www.dairycares/CVDRMP).

None of this pioneering effort would have been possible without a group of dairy farmers who have volunteered to serve as the charter members of CVDRMP’s board of directors, and have met regularly for more than two years – without compensation – to oversee the group’s activities.

Nor could the effort be successful without the continuing financial support of more than 1,200 CVDRMP member dairies, who have already contributed more than $2 million to build the network and support data collection, analysis and reporting.

Nominations sought for director positions by October 22
With its membership in place and monitoring beginning, CVDRMP is also maturing as an organization. The group adopted bylaws earlier this year and is now planning its first director elections. Currently CVDRMP is calling for nominations for candidates; following the nomination process an election will be held in November and December 2012 by mail-in ballot.

CVDRMP is organized into five Central Valley districts with two directors each, plus two at-large members. Directors serve two-year terms and may seek re-election as terms expire. Terms are staggered so that only one seat per district, and one at-large seat, expires in any given year. Therefore, six seats are currently open for nominations, one for each district listed below and one at-large (CVDRMP voting members may nominate only two individuals, one for the seat in the District where your member facility is located, and for the one at-large seat). All terms are for 2013-14.

District 1 – Tulare County
District 2 – Merced and Madera counties
District 3 – Kern, Fresno and Kings counties
District 4 – Stanislaus County
District 5 – All other Central Valley counties not included in Districts 1 through 4.
At-large – Any Central Valley county.

[The Central Valley is the region defined in section 13200(g) of the California Water Code.]

A return-postage-paid nomination form and instructions were mailed September 28, 2012 to all CVDRMP voting members. If the form was lost or not received, CVDRMP members can find a duplicate nomination form and additional information at www.dairycares.com/CVDRMP or by calling (916) 441-3318.

Nominations must be received by October 22, 2012; nominations received later will not be considered even if postmarked before the deadline.

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Dairy Cares is a statewide coalition supporting economic and environmental sustainability and responsible animal care. Our members include the Alliance of Western Milk Producers, Bank of the West, Bar 20 Dairy Farms, California Dairies Inc., California Dairy Campaign, California Farm Bureau Federation, Conestoga – Rovers and Associates, Dairy Farmers of America-Western Area Council, Dairy Institute of California, Hilmar Cheese Co., HP Hood, Joseph Gallo Farms, Land O’Lakes, Milk Producers Council, Ruan Transport Corp., Western United Dairymen, and others. For information, visit our web site or call 916-441-3318.