Key Take-A-Ways

  • Facilities certified in CDQAP’s Environmental Stewardship program were eligible for fee discounts from the State Water Resources Control Board totaling nearly $2 million, approximately $2,500 per facility.
  • COVID-19 impacted delivery of in-person educational workshops, but four were still held (following public health guidelines) in the North Coast region, and online water quality courses were accessible through a new online platform called eXtension.
  • CDQAP provided decisive leadership in the face of several unanticipated issues, including maintaining employee health during the COVID-19 crisis, assisting with on-farm milk disposal procedures due to supply chain disruption, and mortality disposal plans in response to the shutdown of two of the state’s three rendering plants early in 2020.
  • CDQAP continues to expend significant effort to monitor regulatory changes and provide free, concise compliance guidance and support to producers

Objective:

To provide educational assistance and outreach programs that focus on environmental stewardship, animal care, and food safety for the benefit of California dairy producers.

Background, Findings, and Outcomes:

In 2020, CDQAP showcased two of its most distinguishing characteristics: partnering with regulatory agencies in anticipation of new regulations and exhibiting a nimbleness to address unexpected concerns of producers.

CDQAP completed nearly 150 environmental stewardship evaluations, resulting in a total of 780 certified facilities by the end of 2020. CDQAP-certified facilities were eligible for a 50% reduction in State Water Resources Control Board fees totaling nearly $2 million. The CDQAP education and third-party certification programs continued to be the most efficient and cost-effective method for dairy producers to remain current on environmental stewardship, animal care, and farm security topics.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, in-person educational workshops were fewer in number than originally intended. Online water quality courses were successfully exported from the University of California server to a new online national agricultural Cooperative Extension platform called eXtension.

CDQAP remained dedicated to ensuring that all regulatory changes were monitored, and that free, concise compliance guidance and support were available to producers. CDQAP worked diligently to stay current with critical regulatory and issue developments, including the Central Valley Dairy Regional Monitoring Program (CVDRMP), the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS) program, and the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP).

Several emergencies in 2020 required decisive CDQAP responses and leadership: COVID-19 and wildfire smoke required outreach related to Cal/OSHA employee health requirements; pandemic supply chain disruption and a natural gas service disruption necessitated environmentally safe, on-farm milk disposal that protected both producers and the environment; and the shutdown of two of the state’s three rendering plants required leadership and outreach on emergency mortality disposal plans. In addition, CDQAP continued to coordinate with partners, such as the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), and state and local law enforcement on emerging security issues such as activist plans for “open rescue” and robberies of milkers in April.

Finally, Dr. Deanne Meyer, CDQAP environmental stewardship lead, received two awards in 2020: the Eric Bradford & Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award, and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Water Quality Stewardship Award.

For more information on CDQAP, see their newsletters, long-form trending topics and more, here.

 

CDQAP is an industry-academia-government partnership that serves to support California dairy producers. CDRF funds CDQAP outreach activities.