Humane Milk

We care about our cows.

As the first dairy in the United States to be American Humane Certified, Clover Sonoma is committed to the respectful treatment of our animals. We make mindful decisions at every step to ensure our cows are well cared for, including giving them as much time out in open pasture as weather permits, a nutritious diet of fresh grass, hay and grains, and clean bedding to rest on.

As part of our American Humane Certification, all of our family farms also abide by the following practices:

• Zero tolerance of animal abuse
• Safe environment for each animal
• Extensive employee training
• A herd health plan overseen by a veterinarian and nutritionist
• Annual farm audits
• Strict adherence to the five freedoms of animal welfare

  • As defined under American Humane:

    1. Freedom from hunger and thirst,
    2. Freedom from discomfort,
    3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease,
    4. Freedom from fear and distress,
    5. Freedom to express normal behaviors.

  • At Clover, we have held a longstanding belief in the humane treatment of animals. So much so that we were the first dairy ever certified by American Humane. What makes American Humane Certified farms different:

    •  Zero tolerance of animal abuse
    • A safe environment for each animal
    • Extensive employee training
    • A herd health plan overseen by a veterinarian and nutritionist
    • Annual farm audits
    • Strict adherence to the five freedoms of animal welfare

  • The cows are milked by a machine. Machine milking is actually the best, most humane way to milk a cow; the pulsing, rest phase, and vacuum levels are very carefully calibrated. They’re also typically cleaner than human hands, preventing potential bacteria from spreading from cow to cow. The machines also sense when the milking is complete and are automatically removed.

  • Absolutely. Our Clover cows are out on pasture as many days a year that weather permits. Luckily, here in Northern California, that’s quite a lot!

  • The nutrition provided by the pasture is the main source of feed for our cows. When the grass dries up, or the pasture is too wet, it is only humane to bring the additional nutritional needs directly to the cows. Our dairies harvest their grasses when they are growing rapidly in the spring and turn them into silage and hays. Then, they feed the preserved forages to the cows during other parts of the year.

    However, our cows also need some additional nutrition at certain times of the year, so the dairies add other forages (hays) and some concentrate feeds for the carbohydrate requirements that are not available in the forages. Those concentrate feeds could be corn, wheat, or barley. Byproducts such as almond hulls, rice bran, cottonseed, soybean meal, distiller’s grains, and beet pulp can be utilized as feed for cows instead of ending up as waste in landfills!

  • At Clover, our calves are cared for with the utmost attention from the moment they are born. For the health and safety of the calves, they are moved into individual pens but always within sight and sound of other calves.

    Our dairy farms are audited and certified by American Humane, which requires that our calves be taken to a warm protected area shortly after birth, where they are closely monitored to receive the proper amount of colostrum and ensure they don’t show any signs of illness.

    Once our calves have been given the “green light,” they enter a group pen with other calves. Each calf is very important to us, which is why we strive to keep them as safe, healthy, and protected as possible.

The American Humane Certified Animal Welfare Standards are species-specific and created with input from top animal science experts and veterinarians. The standards are defined by current research, technological advances and humane handling methods, and evaluated on criteria outlined by the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare.
quotesI was raised on a dairy farm and know how to treat dairy cows gently and respectfully. I don’t use anything but my voice to move them around. I guess you could say I’m a cow whisperer.quotes
Nick Buttke
Nick & Amber Buttke Dairy, Sebastopol, CA
quotesThose of us that farm have a tremendous responsibility, and, that's so exciting and fun for me to be a part of.quotes
John Bucher
Bucher Farms, Healdsburg CA
We embrace the American Humane Association’s

Freedom from discomfort


Freedom from pain, injury or disease


Freedom from fear and distress


Freedom from hunger and thirst


Freedom to express normal behaviors