Project Leaders: Dr. Michael Payne and Dr. Deanne Meyer, UC Davis, and Denise Mullinax, CDQAP/CDRF
• CDQAP provided significant leadership to the industry on dairy food safety and animal health, and partnered with local, state, and federal law enforcement to respond decisively to several issues in 2022, including farm security concerns related to employee robbery, processor ransomware attack, and flooding.
• Environmental Stewardship outreach focused on the North Coast region, the Central Valley, and the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) projects.
• CDQAP performed 193 certifications or recertifications in 2022, bringing the total to 784 dairies currently certified in CDQAP’s award-winning third-party Environmental Stewardship program. These certifications are associated with a cumulative savings of over $2.5 million annually to producers.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE
CDQAP is a collaborative and voluntary partnership between the dairy industry, academia, and other stakeholders to promote the health of consumers, health of the environment, and the health and welfare of dairy animals in the state of California. Established in 1999, CDQAP has provided educational workshops, timely information, and assistance to California dairy producers and associated allied industry focusing on the program’s sustainability components of public health, animal care, and environmental stewardship. CDQAP has worked with California’s dairy farmers to make continuous improvements in their processes, adhering to the highest standards for protecting the environment, optimizing animal care, and ensuring food safety. As CDQAP completed its 23rd year of service, the program showcased two of its most unique characteristics: a nimbleness to address diverse and unexpected concerns of producers and processors and partnering with regulatory agencies.
METHODS, FINDINGS AND OUTCOMES
CDQAP’s flagship education and third-party certification program performed 193 certifications or recertifications in 2022. CDQAP certification verifies compliance with all local, state and federal dairy environmental regulations and provides a 50% reduction in state water board fees for eligible producers meeting the program’s evaluation standards. This program continues to be the most efficient and cost-effective method for dairy producers to remain current on environmental stewardship, animal care, and farm security topics.
To date, 784 California dairies are currently certified with a cumulative savings of over $2.5 million annually to producers. Because of regulatory deadlines specific to the region, this year’s Environmental Stewardship outreach focused on supporting North Coast producers. There was also significant planning for outreach directed to the Central Valley regarding new requirements from the pending Region 5’s Central Valley Dairy General Order and the existing Nitrate Control Program. CDQAP brought together experts from academia and industry to assist with developing curriculum that addresses the requirements. This curriculum will be offered in 2023 with a focus on how producers can determine their Whole Farm Balance for nitrogen, address a nitrate imbalance, and access financial support for facility improvement. Environmental outreach also focused on describing the various non-digester practices used in the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP).
CDQAP, with support from a grant from CDFA to CDRF and UC Davis’ Cooperative Extension (UCCE), developed webinars and a comprehensive website with videos, fact sheets, and operational costs of AMMP. The website was also used to promote the availability of financial assistance for AMMP projects. In 2022, CDQAP provided significant program leadership on animal health and food safety by addressing dairy mortality disposal in the Central Valley and developing outreach related to securing the food supply, livestock medication, and antibiotic resistance. CDQAP utilized non-industry funding to partner in developing tools that would assist producers in establishing pre-approved enhanced biosecurity plans known as Secure Food Supply (SFS) plans. SFS plans promote producers’ ability to continue to ship milk from uninfected farms during “stop movement” or “quarantine” orders that could accompany foreign animal disease outbreaks such as Foot and Mouth disease.
CDQAP supported California dairy industry success in livestock medication use requirements as put forth by CDFA’s Antimicrobial Use and Stewardship (AUS) program. Further progress was made in 2022 in developing solutions related to mortality disposal emergencies. CDQAP continued to assist CDFA in their drafting of a county-specific emergency carcass disposal plan and provided unique training and hands-on experience with three different types of composting and best management practices to use in emergencies.
CDQAP responded decisively to several unexpected issues in 2022, including farm security concerns related to employee robbery and processor ransomware attacks. CDQAP generated two comprehensive web pages titled, Theft & Robbery and Dairy Security and Crime Prevention, and worked with federal, state, and local law enforcement to deliver industry emergency alerts and webinars in response to these concerns. In early 2023, CDQAP will partner with the FBI and USDA to deliver a workshop about agriculture crime. CDQAP continues to work with partners, including the California Milk Advisory Board, and law enforcement agencies to alert and advise industry on security issues.
CDQAP continued to provide essential outreach and support to California dairy producers, focusing on the areas of public health, animal care, and environmental stewardship. A key part of these efforts is CDQAP’s environmental stewardship certification program which provides a 50% reduction in State Water Board fees to eligible certified facilities, resulting in savings to producers of over $2.5 million annually. Environmental outreach efforts were focused on in-person and online training for producers in California regions with the most urgent regulatory deadlines.
CDQAP developed webinars and a comprehensive website with videos, fact sheets, and operational costs of AMMP and used the website to support producer understanding of practices and promote the availability of financial assistance for AMMP projects. Animal health and dairy food safety were addressed by developing tools and outreach materials related to dairy mortality disposal in the Central Valley, livestock medication, antibiotic resistance, and a secure food supply. CDQAP addressed unexpected concerns regarding farm security, including education on employee robbery and processor ransomware attacks.