Sustainability on Clover Sonoma Farms
Eco-friendly practices are an everyday occurrence on Clover Sonoma Farms. During the drought circumstances California is facing now, most of our dairies are looking at how to conserve water and are finding ways to recycle it. They are also trying to maintain soil health, preserve water retention within the soil, and at recycling waste (by-products from feed and manure). All Clover dairies recycle 100% of their manure production, either using it on farms as fertilizer, or by providing it to other local organic farms, or in other capacities. Healthy soil is the foundation of any sustainable farm. Livestock manure is a critical fertilizer in organic farming because it contains important nutrients to support soil health.
The following steps are key on our environmentally conscious farms:
Step 1: Water Conservation
– Farmers find ways to recycle water that is used to cool milk, they wash barns and irrigate fields with the recycled water.
– In normal years with more rain, runoff from the roof is collected in large containers to reuse.
– Some of our farms even receive recycled water from the city of Santa Rosa, which greatly helps to conserve water. However, in drought years, the amount of water flowing into the treatment plant and out to dairies is less than usual, but using that water whenever possible is still a good use of that resource.
Step 2: Soil Health
– Manure is used at fertilization to improve soil productivity – without dairy manure, more synthetic fertilizer would need to be used.
– Some dairies utilize no-till farming – this helps with water conservation and to retain carbon in the soil.
– Compost or manure solids applied to fields are used to improve soil, as well as for water retention.
Step 3: Recycling Waste
– Many dairies use by-products or waste from food and the fiber industry as cow feed.
– They can conserve water by not using inputs for other feeds (that by-products have replaced).
– Manure can be considered waste, but it is very valuable in the sustainability puzzle. Annually, manure is spread on fields as fertilizer and helps return important nutrients to the soil!
To learn more about Clover Sonoma’s sustainability efforts from packaging innovations to recycling, please check out our Sustainability page.