Sustainable Farming Criteria

At Clover, we work hard to bring you and your family the best quality dairy products. We hold our dairy farms accountable for the quality, care and upkeep of their farms and animals to bring you some of the cleanest milk in the country.

Our farms have practiced sustainability on the same land for generations, so they know that in order for their land to remain viable for the next generation, it must be cared for today. That means working with the land and not fighting against it, fostering natural habitats, rotating crops, using excellent animal husbandry practices and being a good environmental steward by preventing waste runoff. Clover holds them to these high standards by evaluating them each year for our North Coast Excellence Certification program.

Here are the criteria we use to evaluate sustainable farming practices on our dairy farms and the foundation upon which our North Coast Excellence Certification program is based:

  • Active use of pasture for animal exercise and nutrition
  • Active pasture management such as fertilizing, fencing, rotational use, seeding, etc.
  • Ample storage (manure ponds/pits/sumps) to contain manure produced when animals are in housing (typically in winter months). This is especially important for water quality and favored by water quality regulators
  • Manure separation
  • Solids
    • Composted for bedding and fertilizer
  • Liquids
    • Recycled through flush system for cleaning barn alleys
    • Stored to distribute on fields for fertilizer
  • Favorable housing conditions for optimal animal health
  • Free-stall barns for cows and heifers
  • Calf stall-barn and/or hutches for young calves
  • Use of Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (completed by a certified specialist) to manage nutrients on farm and in soils to optimize soil health and pasture growth
  • Periodic testing of nearby waterways (creeks and tributaries) to ensure water quality
  • Riparian fences to reduce animal access to creeks in unfavorable areas
  • Installation of culverts and cattle crossings over creeks
  • Farmstead products
  • Farm diversity such as crops, pumpkin patch, etc.
  • Farm tours in order to educate
  • Farming land for feed such as hay and silage

Organics and Sustainability

The cows that are raised on our certified organic family farms have a good life:  open pasture with plenty of walking area, a diet of fresh organic hay and grains, and clean bedding when they go to sleep. They must be fed organic feed at least one year prior to milking and feeds must be grown on lands using approved pest control and fertilizer for a minimum of three years. In addition to humane feeding and living conditions to sustain health and prevent sickness, our family farm cows must be free of antibiotics and hormones, such as rBST. These criteria are all evaluated by an independent inspector and approved by a third party before our farms can achieve organic certification.