CDQAP Environmental Stewardship Program

The CDQAP Environmental Stewardship program is a partnership of the dairy industry, educators, and staff from regulatory agencies. Together our shared goal is to help California dairy producers understand and comply with federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations. This improves the environment for all Californians.

CDQAP offers up-to-date information at local workshops or online courses. These materials identify better management practice options with a goal of protecting local water and air quality. Detailed record-keeping tools for both regulatory purposes and farm management are available and region specific. Courses in both water and air quality provide clear, concise information on regulatory requirements, example protocols, plan templates, and additional compliance tools.

Environmental Stewardship

CDQAP Environmental Stewardship Certification process is a third-party, on-farm evaluation. Evaluations provide producers with real-time feedback on plan implementation and confidence in regulatory requirement fulfillment. Certification is viewed to improve compliance with regulations thereby minimizing fines to your facility. You may identify improvements to reduce dairy manure or feed management costs and increase feed production during an evaluation. At this time, certified dairies receive a 50 percent discount on their annual water quality permit fees.

Click here for more information about your eligibility, benefits, and other FAQ’s

For more information on participating in our Environmental Stewardship Certification program, please contact

To learn more about CDQAP’s milestone accomplishments in Environmental Stewardship, click here.

Environmental Stewardship Certification is a three-step process:

Step 1. Education: Dairy producers complete water quality and air quality education courses (totaling eight hours), currently offered online. CDQAP courses are led by UC Cooperative Extension and cover water and air quality concerns of particular interest to dairy producers. These include regulatory requirements, facility evaluation, better management practices, and management plan creation/implementation.

Step 2. Environmental Stewardship Farm Management Plans: Each dairy producer evaluates their specific farm conditions and prepares appropriate management plans tailored to their facility. Plans required by regulatory agencies are used to meet the CDQAP management plan requirement.

Step 3. On-site Independent Evaluations: Dairies that are managed by producers who have completed the education courses and created farm management plans may request an independent, third-party evaluation. The evaluator will assess each facility for compliance and regulatory plan implementation. Dairy producers who successfully complete the evaluation earn their CDQAP Environmental Stewardship Certification and signage.

CDQAP certification is valid for 5 years. Certification is non-transferable. Producers who have a change in owner/operator must be re-evaluated to maintain certification.

Contact for more information on courses and the certification process.

Dairy Management