top of page

California Dairy Sustainability Summit Goes Virtual

Dairy farmers, policymakers, technology providers, and researchers will connect digitally this November 5th and 6th to promote the continued advancement of planet-smart, sustainable farming practices.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — September 17, 2020 — Organizers of the California Dairy Sustainability Summit today announced that their second industry event would take place virtually this November 5th and 6th. The Summit is hosted by California’s leading dairy organizations—Dairy Cares, California Dairy Research Foundation, California Milk Advisory Board, California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, and Dairy Council of California. The online event will virtually bring together dairy farmers, state and local officials, researchers, technology providers, and others, to promote continued advancement of planet-smart, sustainable farming practices.

“While much of the world has been disrupted in 2020, our dairy farms haven’t skipped a beat,” said Charles “Chuck” Ahlem, a California dairy farmer and director for three of the hosting organizations. “With the added challenges of keeping our employees and families’ safe, we’ve continued to produce wholesome and nutritious milk each day to support the health and comfort of millions of families. California’s family dairy farms also remain dedicated to protecting our planet. It’s important that we continue to do so collaboratively, to ensure our efforts are sustainable—economically, socially and environmentally. That’s why we couldn’t wait to host this summit.”

Organizers will use an interactive online platform to host educational sessions, a virtual expo hall, and valuable networking opportunities to promote the advancement of dairy sustainability efforts in California and beyond. The two-day agenda will spotlight opportunities to further environmental sustainability, reduce emissions and conserve water resources, improve nutrient management and soil health, develop new business opportunities, improve operational efficiency and reduce on-farm costs. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture

  • Phil Lempert, Founder and Editor, The Lempert Report and Founder and CEO, Retail Dietitians Business Alliance

  • Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Professor and Air Quality Specialist, University of California, Davis

  • Ashley Rosales, Program Director of Nutrition Sciences, Dairy Council of California

  • Justin Gioletti, Dairy Farmer and Vice President, Robert Gioletti & Sons Dairy, Inc.

  • Dr. Ermias Kebreab, Associate Dean of Global Engagement and Director, World Food Center, University of California, Davis

  • John Talbot, Chief Executive Officer, California Milk Advisory Board

  • Neil Black, President, California Bioenergy

  • Genevieve Regli, Dairy Farmer and Agricultural Communications Student, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

California is among the most efficient producers of milk and dairy products, and its life-cycle carbon footprint (per gallon of milk produced) is among the lowest of any region in the world. Dairy farmers have an established history of partnering with the state to further reduce dairy methane emissions through a voluntary, incentive-based approach. These efforts put the California dairy sector—the nation’s largest—on track to achieve climate neutrality in the near future. The state’s dairy families are working to further advance the protection and conservation of water resources, improve air quality, and implement clean, renewable energy technologies. The virtual event aims to support farmers in these efforts, by further fostering important partnerships, developing new business opportunities, and advocating for dairy’s role in a healthy and sustainable food system.

“California’s dairy families have long been dedicated to providing consumers with nutritious and affordable foods, while continually focusing on reducing our environmental footprint,” said Josh Zonneveld, a third-generation dairy farmer and chairman of the California Milk Advisory Board. “However, we’re also facing many challenges that make it difficult to operate in our home state. The California Dairy Sustainability Summit is important because it provides an opportunity to communicate and work together with our regulators. It also provides farmers with a venue to discuss best practices and proactive solutions for issues that will impact our future.”

In its inaugural year, the Summit welcomed more than 650 attendees, including 200+ dairy farmers, innovative technology and fuel providers, researchers, industry associations, and public agencies. The Summit also attracted leaders from throughout state government, eager to work with dairy farmers to ensure that they can help California meet its environmental, energy diversity and economic goals. Organizers look forward to welcoming more local, state, national, and international stakeholders, who can participate from wherever they are digitally connected through the new virtual event format.

Official event partners include the California Farm Bureau Federation, California Dairy Campaign, California Dairies, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America - Western Area, Dairy Institute of California, Hilmar Cheese Company, Joseph Gallo Farms, Land O’ Lakes, Milk Producers Council, Producers Dairy Foods, Inc., and the Western States Dairy Producers Association.

Sponsor and exhibitor opportunities are now available for the virtual Summit. To learn more or to register, visit



Dairy Cares
bottom of page