By Dr. Michael Payne, UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine and Director, CDQAP
This year, CDQAP, like the entire California dairy industry, had to adapt quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of lockdown orders and new urgent priorities, our partnership saw a lot of activity. Highlights of 2020 include:
- Mortality Disposal – When two of the state’s three rendering plants went down in February, CDQAP worked with CDFA, regional water boards and county environmental health to create emergency disposal plans specific for each county. CDQAP has also joined trade groups to form an advisory committee working with CDFA to address carcass disposal issues.
- COVID-19 – In mid-March CDQAP, like many agencies and organizations focused efforts on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Central to this was outreach related to food safety, employee travel, employee health, and regulatory inspections.
- Milk Disposal – COVID supply chain disruptions resulted in some milk being left on the farm. CDQAP collaborated with water boards to develop an on-farm milk disposal policy and producer guidelines protecting both the environment and producer plumbing as well. Similar outreach was distributed following a natural gas delivery interruption in May.
- Online Classes – To better fit producers’ schedules, we again provided an online version of our water quality courses. This resource is also useful during COVID restrictions. Contact us for more information on accessing these free courses from the national Cooperative Extension platform.
- Region 1 Classes – To assist North Coast producers is completing obligations under their new General Waste Discharge Requirements, CDQAP partnered with their water board and
trade groups to offer not only in-person, socially-distanced training but concurrent online training as well. The information from these workshops is available online through our learning management system.
- Dairy Security – Following farm robberies in the first half of the year, CDQAP worked with law enforcement to provide timely recommendations to protect dairy employees. CDQAP worked with CMAB to collect and distribute information on activist intrusions to state, county, and federal law enforcement agencies.
- FMD Preparation – Partnering with USDA and CDFA, CDQAP worked as part of the team planning for a foreign animal disease outbreak, such as Foot and Mouth Disease. The work is moving forward with a goal of creating a protocol to allow producers and processors to continue shipping milk from uninfected farms during an incident.
- AMMP Webinars – CDQAP partnered with CDFA and CDRF to develop a road show of Alternative Manure Management Practices with dairy producers talking to dairy producers about the technologies they have invested in. When COVID-19 prevented the in-person farm tours, CDQAP pivoted and deployed the first in a series of 30-minute webinars to share technology experiences.
- Preparing for the Future – Every week CDQAP is conferencing with governmental organizations and trade groups, planning outreach. Bi-weekly calls with the Central Valley water board staff for instance have focused on CV-SALTS’s nitrate and salinity programs, as well as potential changes to RB-5’s Dairy General Order.
- Environmental Certification – CDQAP certified 790 dairies in Environmental Stewardship, with those facilities receiving a 50% savings in annual water quality permit fees, collectively saving producers over $2,000,000 per year.
- Awards – This year we were proud to announce that CDQAP’s own Dr. Deanne Meyer received not only the North Coast Water Board’s Water Quality Stewardship Award but the Bradford /Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award as well.