By Dr. Michael Payne, UC Davis, School of Vet. Medicine; Director, CDQAP

This year is nearly over, and we can perhaps be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief. Drought, uncertain regulatory future, and supply chain issues from the epidemic have lingered. In spite of this however, CDQAP and our industry, regulatory and law enforcement partners did this year make considerable headway on some historically stubborn issues.

Minimizing Fees Through Certification – Currently 782 California dairies are certified through CDQAP’s third party evaluation program and receive a 50% discount in water board fees. Now working with two independent evaluators, the program continues to provide farm visits year-round for interested producers.

Region 1 & 2 Water Boards – To assist North Coast and Bay Area producers in completing obligations under their annual reports, CDQAP partnered with the respective water boards and trade groups to offer in-person and on-line training.

New Water Regulations – With draft requirements for a new Dairy General Order pending, the exact shape of future Central Valley water regulations is uncertain. Based on initial public discussions however, CDQAP has already engaged industry, regulators and UCD to develop outreach. Offerings for 2023 will focus on how producers can determine their Whole Farm Balance for nitrogen, options to address a nitrate imbalance and accessing financial support for facility improvement. In the coming years, matching funding will be available from a variety of sources, including $20 million from CDFA and $85 million from USDA.

Alternative Manure Management – CDQAP supported delivery of AMMP outreach, funded by a state grant to CDRF and the UCD. A comprehensive website includes videos describing various technologies and the experiences of producers who have used them. Included is data on expected Green House Gas reduction and installation costs.

Farm Security – Most dairies have experienced some form of rural crime, including theft, trespass, vandalism, illegal dumping, clandestine drug labs, and even employee assault. To arm producers with the best preventative information, CDQAP teamed up with local, state, and federal law enforcement experts to deliver a comprehensive webinar. Highlights  and a recording of the webinar are available.

Responding to Activist Trespass – CDQAP continued to work with national organizations and CMAB’s Dairy Communicator’s workgroup to distribute timely information to protect your farm and employees from undercover activists.

Processor Cybersecurity – In 2022 several western dairy processors were victims of a ransomware attack, demanding payment in return for regaining control of their computer infrastructure. CDQAP and CMAB convened a task force with cybersecurity experts from regional, state and federal agencies. The group met in person with California processors. The project culminated with a secure, industry-only webinar. Highlights from the webinar are available.

Animal Health & Food Safety Emergencies – In 2022, while we were mostly spared catastrophic natural disasters, CDQAP did send out industry advisories related to heat events and windstorms with associated facility power loss. In addition, CDQAP helped industry navigate regulatory challenges involving best practices for emergency on-farm milk disposal necessitated by a mechanical failure at a processing plant in Northern California.

Daily Biosecurity – CDQAP helped author and promote the national Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program’s first Everyday Biosecurity manual. The manual outlines small, routine steps dairy farmers can take to protect the health of their herds and employees.

Emergency Biosecurity – Partnering with USDA and CDFA, CDQAP worked to help ensure industry’s ability to ship milk during a quarantine due to a disease outbreak like Foot and Mouth Disease. An Enhanced Biosecurity Plan Builder was published in 2022, and includes instructional videos, templates and links to additional resources.

Emergency Mortality Disposal – CDQAP continued to partner with CDFA and dairy trade organizations (including Ag Council, CDC, MPC and WUD) to draft state-wide and county-by-county emergency carcass disposal plans. In addition, CDQAP partnered with USDA, CDFA and the University of Maine delivered a compost training and demonstration.

Livestock Medications – In 2023 the FDA will require nation-wide veterinary oversight of livestock antibiotics. While important in other states, the change won’t affect producers in California. Since 2018, with the passage of Senate Bill 27, CDQAP has worked industry and CDFA to achieve dairy industry leadership on the issue.

All of us at CDQAP and our partner organizations wish you a peaceful holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year!