Monthly Columns

Innovation and dairy farming in California go hand-in-hand. With advancements in air and water quality protection, crop nutrient management, and animal health, housing and nutrition, dairy families in the Golden State are recognized the world over as leaders in sustainable farming.

In April, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported that every inch of California was experiencing at least some degree of drought, ranging from “moderate” to “exceptional.” The finding was a first in the program’s 15-year history of tracking such conditions in the Golden State.

Regular readers of this column already know about the many efforts of California dairy families to protect and preserve water resources, enhance air quality and develop renewable energy. In fact, these are a just a few of the efforts being pursued to ensure ever-more-sustainable dairies across the Golden State.

Across California, dairy families work daily to protect natural resources and raise healthy animals to produce the quality dairy products consumers expect. Earlier this month, two California dairy families were recognized with distinguished U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards by the Innovation Center for U.S.

The California drought has officially reached every inch of the Golden State, this according to the latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor. For the first time in its 15-year history, the weekly produced map revealed that all parts of California are experiencing drought conditions ranging from “moderate” to “exceptional.”

California farmers, workers and residents are unfortunate witnesses to history. The Golden State is in the throes of one of the driest years since record keeping began in the 1800s.

It’s no secret public interest in today’s food system is growing. From consumers and regulators to “foodies” and doctors, questions – and scrutiny – are on the rise about how food is grown, transported, processed and prepared.

For most of the past two decades, there has been a robust public discussion and organized effort toward realizing the vision of building biogas digesters on California dairies. And with good reason: This technology promises the potential to create renewable energy and reduce environmental impacts while creating a new source of sustainable revenue for family farmers.

Despite this exciting potential, today, there are a little over a dozen biogas digester projects on dairies throughout California – about 1 percent of the state’s total dairies.

California dairy families are innovators, constantly looking for new ways to protect, conserve and improve natural resources, such as air, land and water. Every day, they renew their commitment to the environment with real action onthe farm, where sustainability is a way-of-life.

Earlier this month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) recognized a Central Valley dairy family for their dedication to improving the environment. 

There’s no doubt that San Joaquin Valley air quality officials are tasked with a tough job. With its bowl shape and hot summer days, the valley is nature’s perfect oven for “baking” the basic ingredients of smog, resulting in ozone formation. 

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