Sustainability & Stewardship
Sustainability is essential to the success and future of California’s dairy industry. By prioritizing sustainable practices, we can protect our natural resources, support the health and well-being of our animals, and provide high-quality, nutritious milk for generations to come.
CDI’s Golden State Advantage sets the bar for the highest quality, most sustainable dairy products to our customers around the world.
With farms and facilities throughout the leading dairy state, California Dairies, Inc. is championing sustainable dairy production. Our farms have greatly reduced reliance on resources, such as land, water, energy, fertilizer, and pesticides, while maintaining the highest standards for animal health, comfort, and care. The Golden State maintains some of the highest standards in the nation to protect and advance our workforce. Working together as a cooperative, we are ensuring the well-being of our people, our planet, and our farms.
“CDI is committed to advancing our sustainability efforts as fast as technology and farmer economics allow.”
CDI is aligned with the U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative (NZI) to achieve carbon neutrality or better by 2050.
CDI is committed to a 30% reduction in direct and supply chain greenhouse gases, recognizing all Scope 3 reductions, from 2020 levels by 2030.
California dairies are leading the way in environmental stewardship and have reduced the carbon footprint of each gallon of milk produced by more than 45% over the past five decades. Sustainability is not a catchword at CDI; it is at the very core of everything we do. This is demonstrated through the continuous advancements made toward our Sustainability Goals, including:
66% of CDI milk is produced on farms implementing one or more methane-reducing projects
40% of feed comes from agricultural byproducts, greatly reducing our environmental footprint
More than 75% of the electricity on CDI farms and more than 55% of our processing facilities’ electricity is from renewable or carbon-free energy sources.
Producing high quality, safe milk with integrity
Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM)
In 2010, CDI became one of the first dairy cooperatives to adopt the FARM program. Today, all CDI dairies continue to demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement in animal care, antibiotic stewardship, biosecurity, environmental stewardship, and workforce development by maintaining compliance and good standing with the FARM program.
FARM Environmental Stewardship (FARM ES)
Through evaluations focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy use, and Nutrient Management Plans, CDI will aggregate each member-owner farm’s GHG emissions and track reductions over time to ensure CDI’s goals are met.
CDI will perform FARM ES evaluations on one-third of member-owner farms each year, evaluating all our member farms by the end of 2025.
CDI’s Golden State Advantage has its rewards – even for cows.
Animal care is a top priority for our family dairy farmers. That means making sure cows, heifers, and calves receive the nutrition, veterinary care, and attention they need to thrive. In addition to FARM animal care standards, CDI has adopted the globally recognized Five Freedoms of Good Animal Welfare.
Another Golden State Advantage, and testament of our commitment to the highest standards of animal care, is our policy forbidding the use of restrictive tie-stalls and cow trainers on any CDI member-owned dairy.
On our farms and in our processing facilities, CDI emphasizes the responsible use of water, a scarce and precious resource.
Sustainable water use has remained a constant aspect of California dairying. CDI dairy farmers participate in Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to ensure long-term sustainability, and are pioneering systems to grow dairy forage with less water, such as subsurface irrigation systems.
CDI dairies participate in charitable foundations and other groups that provide safe drinking water to rural residents of the Central Valley of California, many of whom rely on domestic wells as their sole source of drinking water.
At our processing facilities, CDI recycles and reuses water for facility and equipment cleaning, boiler feed water, outdoor landscape needs, or groundwater recharge through the use of local aquifers.
Prioritizing animal care and nutrition by feeding a diet consisting of 40% byproducts also comes with water saving benefits. UC Davis research determined that feeding byproducts instead of growing more feed crops reduces dairy water consumption by up to 1.3 trillion gallons annually.