Letters to the Editor

Make sure you buy 'Real California Milk'

California's dairy families labor under the strictest environmental regulations on the planet. In 2004, air quality legislation was passed that led to first-ever regulations for farms. Last May, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board promulgated 122 pages of new regulations for dairies. Nowhere else are dairy farmers subject to such regulation.

California farmers care about our communities and our environment and have always been on the leading edge. Since 1998, California dairy farmers have worked collectively to enhance water quality through the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program. Our producers have voluntarily constructed methane digesters to harness methane and generate electricity (a difficult chore given the lack of ability to sell excess electricity to utility companies). Further, the state's dairy families have implemented a menu of best-management practices to reduce emissions and enhance air quality.

Last October, the California Milk Advisory Board unveiled a terrific new program to encourage California consumers to purchase dairy products made with "Real California Milk." Buying California- produced milk and dairy products has the added benefit of stimulating our local economy while reducing greenhouse gases created by shipping milk into California. I encourage everyone to ask for Real California Milk when you go to the store. Made in California, by Californians, for Californians.

LINDA LOPES

Turlock

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