Committed to the Environment

CDQAP Environmental Stewardship

The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) Environmental Stewardship program is a partnership of the dairy industry, educators, and others working together toward the shared goal of helping California dairy producers to understand and comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations to ensure a healthful environment for the people, livestock, and wildlife of the State of California.

Signed on September 9, 1999, the Environmental Stewardship Partnership Agreement established a voluntary environmental stewardship education and certification program. Learn more about our 20-year history here.

CDQAP offers education courses that help producers understand environmental regulations, familiarize them with better management practice options, and supply detailed record-keeping tools for both regulatory purposes and for farm management. Courses in both water and air quality provide clear, concise information on regulatory requirements, example protocols, plan templates, and additional compliance tools.

CDQAP certification assists producers in regulatory compliance through a third-party, on-farm evaluation of their facility. Evaluations provide producers with real-time feedback on plan implementation and confidence in regulatory requirement fulfillment.

Resource Binders

Click on a binder to view its contents.

CDQAP 2016 Air Quality Reference Binder ButtonCDQAP 2016 Cent Val Water Qual Ref Binder ButtonCDQAP 2016 No Coast RB1 Water Qual Ref Binder ButtonCDQAP 2016 No Coast RB2 Water Qual Ref Binder Button

CDQAP ES Certification

The CDQAP environmental certification program helps California dairy producers understand and meet federal, state and local requirements for water and air quality protection.

Environmental Stewardship Certification is a three-step program:

Step 1.  Education – Dairy producers complete water quality and air quality education courses. CDQAP courses are led by UC Cooperative Extension and cover environmental issues of particular interest to dairy producers, including regulatory requirements, facility evaluation, better management practices, and management plan creation.

Step 2.  Environmental Stewardship Farm Management Plans – Each dairy producer evaluates their specific farm conditions and prepares appropriate management plans tailored to their facility. Where applicable, plans required by regulatory agencies can be used to meet the CDQAP management plan requirement.

Step 3.  On-site Independent Evaluations – Dairies that are managed by producers who have completed the education courses and created farm management plans may request an independent, third-party evaluation to assess their facility for compliance and implementation. A unified checklist is used to evaluate each facility’s compliance with all local, state, and federal environmental regulations. Dairy producers who successfully complete the evaluation become certified for environmental stewardship.

CDQAP certification is valid for a period of 5 years. Producers who have a change in owner/operator must be re-evaluated to maintain certification. Producers who have an illegal discharge from their property must report the discharge to the appropriate regulatory agencies (RWQCB, DHS, DF&G). Regulatory enforcement actions will result in de-certification.

CDQAP Partners include:

California Dairy CampaignCalifornia Dairy Research FoundationCalifornia Department of Fish and GameCalifornia Department of Food and AgricultureCalifornia Environmental Protection AgencyCalifornia Farm Bureau FederationCalifornia Manufacturing Milk Advisory BoardCalifornia Resources AgencyMilk Producers CouncilNatural Resources Conservation ServiceState Water Resources Control BoardSustainable ConservationU.S. Department of AgricultureU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyUniversity of California/UC Cooperative Extension and Western United Dairymen.


Streaming Video Sampling Protocols:
Well Sampling
Manure Sampling
Silage Sampling


Air Quality:

California Air Resources Control Board

San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Board

Water Quality:

Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Documents

Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Offices

RB5 Flow Chart for Permitting

Central Valley Dairy Waste and Nutrient Management Registration (Merced County tool)


California Environmental Protection Agency – Environmental Lab Accreditation Program (ELAP)

North American Proficiency Testing Program (NAPT) Laboratory List

Certified Professional Agronomists in the American Society of Agronomy

California Licensed Engineers and Land Surveyors

University of California Cooperative Extension

University of California Cooperative Extension, Stanislaus County: Lagoon Nutrient Management Program