Clover Sonoma

Farm/Brand HeadquartersPetaluma, CA
ProductsButter, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, fluid milk, ice cream, kefir, sour cream
Market AreaAZ, CA, ID, NV, OR, WA, West
Total Score1215

They write: “Clover Sonoma, based in Petaluma in Northern California, is a third-generation family-owned and operated dairy company whose core pillars are quality, support of animal welfare, sustainable business practices, and giving back to the communities they reach. The Clover brand, first distributed in 1916, has been an integral part of Sonoma County and has a long legacy of working with Northern California local family farms to create delicious, high-quality dairy products.

Today, what sets Clover apart is its innovative approach to the dairy business. As the first dairy processor to elevate milk from a commodity to a specialty food, Clover established the Clover Promise of Excellence (formerly known as the North Coast Excellence Certified program) — setting some of the most rigorous standards in the dairy industry which far surpass those of the state and federal governments. As part of this standard of excellence, Clover cows are raised on local family-owned farms that follow sustainable agriculture practices and tend small herds on spacious ranches, where the cows are well-treated and healthy. Clover farms are also American Humane Certified and must demonstrate environmental consciousness and stewardship of land. In fact, they was the first dairy company in the United States to become American Humane Certified and helped write the standards on animal welfare. They also made an early entrance into organics to provide support and help fuel the movement.

Clover Sonoma’s passion for supporting small family farms, animal welfare, sustainable business practices, and community have always been the hallmarks of the business, which has helped them earn a Certified B Corporation® title. This means they meet the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency – continuing to drive and elevate the dairy industry.”

TOTAL (possible score is 1600 plus extra credit) 1215
4-Cow Rating | Excellent
Farmstead dairies earn the most points. Corporations that have a history of skirting the organic rules receive the fewest.
Ownership structure
80Family-owned S-corp
Farms that produce 100% of their milk receive the most points. Milk from "open market" or known confinement dairies receive the fewest.
Milk Supply
8595% from Clover suppliers
100% organic farms receive the most points. Split operations with conventional dairy on the same property receive the fewest.
Organic Production
70Markets both organic and conventional products
Farms that completed the survey in detail received the most points.
Disclosure of Information for Verification
85Good disclosure
Points determined by integrity of the brand’s organic certifier.
Organic Certification
85Quality Certification Services (QCS)
Animal Welfare Approved and Biodynamic certifications receive the most bonus points. Producers are not penalized for not having additional certifications beyond organic.
Other Labels/Standards
40American Humane Certified (AHA), Non-GMO Project verified
100% grass-fed with independent verification of standards
40Exceeds USDA percent intake requirements
No points are given for this but the information may be useful to certain consumers looking to avoid soy.
Soy Free Ration?
Sliding scale based on policies, enforcement, acreage/cow, days/year on pasture, and permissible exemption.
80Good pasture compliance in challenging climate
One time/day receives the most points. Two times per day is standard.
Times Milked
90Two times a day (standard protocol on legitimate organic dairies)
Lower cull rate scores better, with under 10% receiving the most points.
Cull/death Rate
70Cull rates meet American Humane audit standards
Farms with closed herds receive the most points. Farms that sell organic calves and buy conventional replacements receive the fewest.
100Closed herd
Standard practice is removing calves shortly after birth, with extra points given for unique ways of managing calves
70Removed shortly after birth; started in calf hutches
Farms that prohibit antibiotics receive the most points. Farms that allow young stock to receive antibiotics (under one year), receive the fewest.
Antibiotic Use
100No antibiotic use
No hormones is the standard, however some farms do use oxytocin for therapeutic purposes.
Hormone Usage
50Hormones used therapeutically
Farmstead dairies (owner lives on-site) receive the most points. Fewer points are given as oversight declines.
Farm Support
90Dairies visited regularly by staff
All ingredients sourced from inside the organization or on the farm receives the highest points. Ingredients from confinement factory farms and/or imported ingredients receive the fewest.
Procurement of Ingredients
80Purchases milk powder
Various levels of extra credit given for 1) providing full organic systems plan, 2) providing details on all farms (multi-farm brands, details on largest five required), and 3) sourcing feed on-farm or domestically.
Extra Credit