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)1215
4-Cow Rating | Excellent
Farmstead dairies who live on-site (or work their own dairy daily) receive top points for this category. No transparency and/or no answer receive no points.
Ownership structure
80Family-owned S-corp
Farmstead dairies and well-managed cooperatives with only their own patrons get top points in this category. Fewer points go to brands that have less control over their milk supply.
Milk Supply
8595% from Clover suppliers
Brands that do not also market any conventional products receive top points in this category. Brands that are less dedicated to organics receive fewer points.
Organic Production
70Markets both organic and conventional products
The best transparency toward Cornucopia investigators is rewarded by full points.
Disclosure of Information for Verification
85Good disclosure
If a top-rated organic certifier certifies this brand they receive full points. Certifiers with questionable practices receive fewer points.
Organic Certification
85Quality Certification Services (QCS)
If this brand has other third-party labels, particularly animal-welfare labels, that will provide them extra points in this category depending on the particular label and its standards.
Other Labels/Standards
40American Humane Certified (AHA), Non-GMO Project verified
100% Grass-fed with independent verification or independent standards to ensure compliance will receive full points in this category. Other points are attributed to how much forage composes the dairy cows’ diets.
40Exceeds USDA percent intake requirements
No point value – this information is offered for buyers interested in milk from cows without soy in their diets.
Soy Free Ration?
Rating based on (a) policies of brand, (b) enforcement/oversight (c) acreage available per cow, (d) average days on pasture (e) investigative actions.
80Good pasture compliance in challenging climate
Where cows are milked one to two times per day they receive top points. It's standard organic protocol to milk two times a day. Dairies that milk three-to-four times a day is one indicator of factory-organics.
Times Milked
90Two times a day (standard protocol on legitimate organic dairies)
A cull and/or death rate under 10% annually receives full points.
Cull/death Rate
70Cull rates meet American Humane audit standards
Closed herd (meaning the brand raises all their replacement cattle) receives full points. If conventional animals are purchased, the brand receives fewer points.
100Closed herd
If this brand has a unique way of managing calves they receive more points. If they remove the calf shortly after birth (the standard practice) they receive 70 points.
70Removed shortly after birth; started in calf hutches
When the brand prohibits all antibiotic use they receive full points. No answer receives no points.
Antibiotic Use
100No antibiotic use
When no hormones are used on farm(s) this brand receives full points. When the brand uses hormones therapeutically post-birth the brand receives 50 points.
Hormone Usage
50Hormones used therapeutically
Farmstead dairies (lives on site) get full points and cooperative/corporations that set standards and have staff that visit the supplying dairies also receive top points. No direct supervision and/or personal relationship with farm(s) gets low or no points.
Farm Support
90Dairies visited regularly by staff
Full control of any added ingredients (100% come from within organization) receives top points. Dairy ingredients purchased from a number of different vendors (with less direct control) receives fewer points in this category.
Procurement of Ingredients
80Purchases milk powder
Several questions were asked in addition to the original survey questions that would ultimately give producers “extra credit” points. Look for details in individual brand explanations.
Extra Credit

In the spirit of the 2018 giving season, a generous Cornucopia member has offered to DOUBLE ALL DONATIONS made in support of authentic and local food from true family farms. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to increase your impact with a gift to Cornucopia.

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