2020 California Dairy Sustainability Summit agenda takes head-on approach to challenges

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

The California Dairy Sustainability Summit will return to Sacramento on March 25-26, 2020, providing an even more robust and impactful program. For decades, California dairy farms have been achieving sustainability goals, leading the world in the development of sustainable practices. Through engaging and interactive sessions, the Summit will help dairy farmers, policy makers, technology providers, industry leaders, and others as they embrace opportunities and overcome the challenges ahead.

The 2020 Summit builds upon the success of the inaugural event—held in 2018—which welcomed 650+ attendees, one third of which were dairy farmers. The program agenda includes a diverse group of high-caliber speakers to discuss how the dairy sector aims to continue meeting the expectations of policy makers and consumers across the globe, while identifying opportunities for dairy farmers to maximize efficiency and improve their bottom line. Rapid changes are constantly reshaping the retail landscape, creating challenges and opportunities. Acknowledging this, the program will begin with an opening keynote from Phil Lempert, known as the Supermarket Guru®, discussing Disruption in the Food Business and Where Sustainability Fits in the Conversation. A key theme throughout the event will be innovation’s role in meeting consumer expectations for taste, health and nutrition, and environmental sustainability.


With both local and global perspectives, speakers will talk about dairy’s critical role in nourishing a growing world population, while protecting natural resources. Ashley Rosales of the Dairy Council of California will share about The Future of Our Food System: Where Sustainability and Animal Source Foods for Human Nutrition and Health Intersect. Next, Dr. Ermias Kebreab will discuss the variation in dairy farm practices across the globe and what this means as regions work to reduce their own carbon footprint. Speakers will discuss how California can be a model around the world for environmental protection, while also making sure family dairy farms remain economically sustainable.


The Summit will promote the development and widespread adoption of sustainable dairy farming practices. Research and technological advancement will continue to play an important role in advancing environmental and economic sustainability. The Summit program will address proven and practical solutions that exist today, as well as those still in development. State leaders will discuss the incentives and economic market stability needed to continue supporting dairy farmers’ efforts.

The second day of the Summit will dive deeper, with a keynote discussion among executives of the nation’s leading dairy cooperatives and processors. Through interactive breakout sessions, farmers and other key stakeholders will learn about grant funding opportunities and how to navigate fast-approaching challenges in water conservation, water quality protection, and nutrient management, while continuing to reduce dairy methane emissions and decrease reliance on fossil fuels. On both days of the Summit, the Expo Hall will connect farmers with technology and service providers, who can provide options suitable to their unique operations. Additionally, Summit hosts are currently accepting abstracts for scientific posters; selected researchers will be invited to share their latest developments in the Expo Hall.

Between the program agenda and Expo Hall, the Summit will provide farmers with tools and information they can use today to work toward achieving both economic success and long-term sustainability goals. Additionally, the interaction between technology providers, policy makers, researchers, and others will help promote the development of solutions to meet upcoming challenges in economically sustainable ways. Discussion will focus on the critical need for state policy to continue to support dairy farmers’ efforts to meet multiple environmental goals.


Finally, the Summit will recognize that long-term environmental and economic sustainability also depends on the dairy sector’s future leaders. For the first time, co-hosts are also offering a college student writing contest, asking students to share what sustainability means to them. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to share his or her story with attendees on the last day of the Summit. The second and third place winners will also receive scholarships. The deadline for student submissions has been extended to January 15.


From start to finish, the agenda for the 2020 California Dairy Sustainability Summit will address challenges and opportunities to support family dairy farmers as they further shrink their environmental footprint. Top-notch speakers and networking opportunities will create an invaluable experience you don’t want to miss. Be a part of this collaborative effort, as California aims to not only meet its own ambitious goals, but to strengthen a sustainable and nutritious global food system. Early bird registration rates end December 20. Visit CADairySummit.com to learn more and register today.


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Dairy Cares

Dairy Cares is a statewide coalition with a mission to ensure the long-term sustainability of California’s dairy farm families.

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