The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) helps California dairy producers understand and meet federal, state, regional and local requirements for manure and water quality. The CDQAP's certification program is an unprecedented partnership between Sustainable Conservation, California's dairy industry, federal, state, and regional government agencies, and the UC Cooperative Extension.
The Environmental Stewardship Partnership Agreement includes:
Short Course - Dairy producers must complete six hours of UC Cooperative Extension courses that cover water regulations, facility evaluation manure management, and storm water pollution prevention plans.
Environmental Stewardship Farm Management Plan - Each dairy producer evaluates their farm conditions and prepares a plan tailored to their facility.
On-site Independent Evaluations - Dairies completing the short-course series and farm management plan are eligible for independent third-party compliance evaluations to meet all local, state, and federal environmental laws. Dairies that complete the evaluation are certified for environmental stewardship.
The key facets of the CDQA Environmental Stewardship Program include:
- Sufficient lagoon capacity—dependent on facility design, management, herd size, average rainfall and geographic location
- Documentation of permits—county use permits, waiver of waste discharge requirements, National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit
- Evidence of 10% clay content in the lagoon (state requirement)
- Capacity to store runoff from high rainfall
- Corrals that prevent standing water and water infiltration
- Prevention of dairy nutrient discharges to surface water
- Long range planning for facility improvements in concert with environmental standards
- Collect run-off from solid manure
- Collect any run-off from feed (such as silage)
- Emergency manure management program
CDQAP Training in Portuguese
In California's Central Valley, first-generation Portuguese immigrants run many small dairy operations. In fact, in some counties, Portuguese farmers operate the majority of dairies. Small farms like these present a particularly difficult set of issues, as they are exempt from some regulations and have considerably fewer financial resources. When developing educational programs that promote sound environmental practices, no agency has taken into account the cultural and linguistic barriers that Portuguese farmers face. Without training materials and technical assistance classes in Portuguese, these farmers are highly unlikely to pursue better manure management practices.
Building on the technical expertise of our partners at UC Davis and the successful English language training materials, Sustainable Conservation developed a CDQAP certification program in Portuguese. To produce a culturally sensitive program that reached a large Portuguese population of dairy farmers, Sustainable Conservation has partnered with the Portuguese Studies Program at California State University at Stanislaus. Classes began in January 2002.