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Dairy Partnership Receives California’s Highest Environmental Award

November 27, 2007

[Editor's note: Michael Payne DVM, PhD is the director of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program and the Outreach Program Coordinator of the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS), a program of the School of Veterinary Medicine.]

Davis, California – November 26, 2007 – On November 20 the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) received California’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.

The program received the award in the category for "Environmental and Economic Partnerships" for exceptional leadership in building public-private collaborations helping conserve California’s resources and protecting and enhancing the environment.

"I’m proud to honor this year’s award recipients for their sustained commitment, innovative solutions and strategic investment to protect our environment and boost our economy," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program  comprises 17 regulatory agencies, dairy organizations, environmental advocacy groups and the University of California. The partnership offers classroom and on-farm assistance in meeting regional, state and federal environmental regulations.

"California’s dairy industry is the most heavily regulated in the country," said the University of California’s Dr. Michael Payne, director of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program. "Nowhere else are monitoring and reporting requirements for water quality more comprehensive than in the Central Valley. California dairies also face the strictest regulations in the nation for control of dust and air emissions."

Making sense of these complex regulations and providing outreach to the state’s nearly 2,000 dairy farms requires leveraging of financial, personnel and technical resources of each of the partnering organizations.

The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program has offered a variety of courses, some statewide in scope and some specific to particular regions. Producers frequently take more than one class. Since the program’s formation in 1997 some 2,400 producers or dairy advisers have attended one or more California Dairy Quality Assurance Program classes for a total of more than 8,400 classroom contacts.

The program reaches dairy producers through a variety of other methods including Web pages, newsletters, alert bulletins and symposiums and advisory board presentations. Information is also made available for industry, university and regulatory publications.

Because class curricula and materials are developed collaboratively with the regulatory and academic experts, dairy producers have come to trust that finding the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program logo on materials means that they are getting concise, factual and timely information.

The program also offers producers the opportunity to prepare for and undergo a third-party environmental compliance evaluation. To date, 256 dairies have successfully completed these on-farm audits.

Program partners include the US Environmental Protection Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Resources Agency, State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Fish and Game, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Milk Producers Council, California Dairy Campaign, Western United Dairymen, California Farm Bureau Federation, the California Milk Advisory Board and Sustainable Conservation. UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine faculty members represent veterinary education and practice. Core funding has been provided for a decade by the California Milk Advisory Board. Other partners include US EPA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture have provided grants and in-kind support.

The Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards program was established in 1993. Recipients are selected by a large panel of evaluators and the Secretaries of Cal/EPA, the Resources Agency, Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, the Department of Food and Agriculture, the State and Consumer Services Agency, and the Governor’s Office.

Contact: Doctor Michael Payne, director, (530) 757-5762,