California dairy families work to conserve our state's precious natural resources, including water, soil, and energy. 

Water recycling on California dairy farm



  • Dairy families recycle water to make best use of this precious resource. Clean water is used to cool milk tanks, sanitize milking equipment and wash cows before it is used to flush manure from barn floors. That water is then used to irrigate crops grown to feed the cows.

  • The amount of water used to produce each glass of milk, serving of cheese, or cup of yogurt has decreased significantly.

  • Dairy families are exploring sub-surface, drip irrigation techniques that can reduce water use for corn and alfalfa production, while increasing crop yields.


To download information about water recycling, click here.

  • All California dairies follow a Nutrient Management Plan, prepared by a certified agronomist. The plan calculates the application and removal rate of nutrients in the soil to ensure soil health.

  • Manure is a natural fertilizer that is rich in nutrients and soil-building organic materials.

  • Conservation, or strip tillage, leaves behind crop stubble after harvest, which can improve soil and air quality by reducing dust. Conservation tillage also requires fewer tractor passes to prepare fields for planting, reducing diesel consumption and emissions.

  • In addition to producing renewable energy, methane digesters create a natural, pathogen-free solid compost and a liquid fertilizer material. Learn more about California's dairy digesters.

Dairy farm cycle of renewal


  • California dairy families continue to partner with their local utilities to conserve energy.

  • Individual dairy farms have cut energy use up to 20%.*

  • California dairy farms have saved or replaced more than 45 million kilowatt-hours of energy. That’s enough to supply electricity to more than 5,000 homes for a year.*

  • Through these efforts, dairies have prevented emissions of more than 39,761 metric tons of carbon dioxide—further reducing dairy’s carbon “hoofprint.”


To download the Dairy Farms Energy Report Card, click here.​

*Information provided by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Southern California Edison


  • Dairies repurpose waste from food production and processing byproducts, including almond hulls, culled fruits and vegetables, citrus pulp, cotton seeds, and tomato pomace, which provide nutritional value as feed ingredients.

  • Feed crops are grown using organic manure. This reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers and creates a tremendous cycle of renewal.

  • California dairy families feed their cows a well-balanced, nutritious diet, contributing to cow health and comfort, along with the overall efficiency and sustainability of their operations.


To download the dairy feed infographic, click here.​

California dairy farms make efficient use of natural resources
Dairy Cares