ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

2014 New Call for Positions

2014 URS Call for Positions

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2014 cycle.

Position Details

045 Dairy Advisor Sonoma Marin Mendocino

Proposed Location/Housing


Proposed Area of Coverage

Sonoma, Marin, and Mendocino


Associated Documents



As the first organic dairy and creamery in the Western US, we see a need for more organic dairies and organic milk in Marin and Sonoma counties. Approximately 75% of the dairies in the two counties are organic. We are trying to look for the next generation farmers to be able to get a start in farming in the next few years. They will need advice and expertise in organic farming, business and management. I see this advice and expertise opportunity coming from a Dairy Advisor position.
Posted Jul 7, 2014 2:01 PM by Albert Straus
We could use help in solving the milk supply puzzle here in Marin and Sonoma Counties.
1. Many new cheesemakers cannot find a source for milk because most dairies are locked in contracts with processors.
2. There are opportunities for small dairy operations to develop genetics specifically for cheese makers who are looking for specific qualities that will improve the quality of their cheese.
3. Getting advanced knowledge on milk quality and sanitation is critical with new FDA food safety guidelines.

We need help.

Sue Conley
Cheesemaker, Distributor
Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods
Posted Jul 7, 2014 2:04 PM by Sue Conley
There is a great need for a Dairy Advisor in our region to provide guidance and expertise to our dairy producers. A Dairy Advisor would be instrumental in helping the next generation of dairy farmers successfully become established, including problem solving (and complying with) industry challenges such manure management, animal welfare, nutrition needs, food safety, and environmental stewardship.

Over the past several years there has been a significant increase in the number of certified organic dairies, including value-added dairy products. We want our local organic and conventional dairy producers to have the support they need to thrive and take advantage of innovative market niches. A Dairy Advisor would provide this greatly needed support system.

Stefan Parnay
Marin County Deputy Ag Commissioner/Director
Posted Jul 8, 2014 10:30 AM by Stefan Parnay
As the dairy landscape continues to reshape, presence from the UC system is essential. For over 14 years, UC has not provided a direct contact or person responsible for support of the dairy industry, despite the fact that dairy is the #1 agricultural crop/industry in Marin County and #2 (to viticulture) in Sonoma County. With growth in organic, farmstead and artisanal production, dairy has remained a vital piece of our community and an integral agricultural contributor, and continues to offer hope for growth. Notwithstanding, conventional production continues to be in demand, therefore in need of support all of the more as the ability to stay in business under this model is increasingly difficult.
While many milk processors have support staff for their producers, unified and unbiased outreach, education and support is lacking and would naturally be filled by a UC Dairy Advisor. There are ongoing efforts in water quality and environmental stewardship that requires on-farm education and outreach that UC should provide; moreover, research in management practices and up-to-date technologies to sustain efficiency and production.

Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino Counties have many beneficial aspects that other, more dairy-dense areas do not such as pasture/rangeland; however, that is a seasonal benefit. Whereas the more central California dairies have a year-round competitive edge with their ability to grow most of their own feed and are more accessible to purchased feed via rail. I mention this because the dairy industry in these three counties are unique and require- truly deserve- a dedicated Farm Advisor who can provide them with non-biased research, education, and outreach in order to support its viability.

I encourage UC to take this into serious consideration. The dairy industry in the State of California is in a distinctive time with the potential change of the milk pricing formula, heightened consumer awareness and demands, high cost of production and, of course, drought, the families of our unique Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino County dairies deserve UC's support!

Dayna Ghirardelli
Producer Liaison
Clover Stornetta Farms, Inc.
Posted Jul 8, 2014 10:56 AM by Dayna Ghirardelli
The San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board is presently re-evaluating Sonoma-Marin Dairy Waiver requirements for Producers and they have a list of interested stakeholders but a local Dairy Advisor is not represented. Such representation is crucial to the viability of our dairy industry as they deal with increasing environmental regulation. Now is the time to provide the necessary UCCE staff to help inform new agency requirements and provide assistance to our agricultural community.

Thank you,
Nancy Scolari
Executive Director
Marin Resource Conservation District
Posted Jul 8, 2014 3:27 PM by Nancy Scolari
Certainly any help that the University system can give to the dairy industry in the North Bay is much needed. Many issues are upon us, including but not limited to, relationships with the National Seashore, the drought, feed supplies, help for our young dairymen, further development of dairy products being made on the farm, labor relations, and water quality. We certainly appreciate the possibility of a Dairy Advisor position for our area and hope it will be given serious consideration.
Posted Jul 8, 2014 8:48 PM by Bob Giacomini
For more than 17 years UCD and the industry/regulatory collaboration the Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) have provided timely outreach and education to the state’s dairy producers, addressing everything from compliance with air and water quality regulations to animal care to disaster mitigation. The program has had more than 12,000 in-person contacts and provided a 50% reduction in state water fees. An indispensable component of this outreach remains the county dairy advisor who helps coordinate outreach activities, serves as a liaison to regulatory agencies and ensures that problems facing producers in a particular county are addressed through state-wide collaborators. For more than 14 years however producers in Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino have had much more limited access to these resources simply because there was no local dairy advisor.

Of all the agricultural industries, dairy is by far the most complex. It is the most highly regulated agricultural industry in the state falling under not only Cal-EPA, the state water and air resources boards, but regional water boards and air districts and county regulations as well. The dairy industry has the most expansive food safety oversight of any food commodity, starting with the wide-ranging Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and most recently the behemoth Food Safety Modernization Act. Production practices including organic and pasture-based systems in these three counties are frequently different than the majority of producers in the Central Valley, making tailored outreach even more essential. Our partnership, which includes all the major processors and dairy service organizations, state and federal regulatory organizations and of course UC are anxious to supply program support to a new dairy advisor in the North Bay area.

Michael Payne DVM PhD
Director: California Dairy Quality Assurance Program
University of California - Davis
Posted Jul 11, 2014 4:32 PM by Michael Payne
Dairy is Marin County's number 1 Ag industry and coastal dairies are different than other regions. Our dairies would benefit from advice and expertise regarding:
1. Pasture improvement
2. Production to benefit artisan product production
3. Advise for mulch-species dairies
4. Help with niche marketing of farmstead products
5. Organic weed control through grazing, or other management plans
6. Water quality and environmental stewardship
Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties would greatly benefit from a dedicated Farm Advisor who can provide them with the research, education, and outreach to support their important Dairy industry.

Sam Dolcini, President
Marin County Farm Bureau
Posted Jul 15, 2014 3:32 PM by Marin County Farm Bureau
Western United Dairymen eagerly supports the creation of a Dairy Advisor position to serve the producers of Sonoma, Marin & Mendocino Counties. The North Coast is home to the state’s largest population of organic dairies, and one of the only geographic regions of California where dairies run on pasture-based systems of management; dairymen in these north coast counties face a variety of unique circumstances that make the creation of this position a welcome prospect for the local industry.

The 2012 adoption of new water quality standards for Region 1 and the continuing water quality program in Region 2 has augmented the demand for the research, implementation and evaluation of conservation practices, as well as the need for producer outreach and education. In addition to the ever-increasing regulatory burden, producers would benefit from sound advice pertaining to the development of alternative feed sources, increasing profitability, and sustainably passing operations to future generations.

The development of this position, in one of the most geographically remote regions of the state, will help to ensure the continued generational success of family farming operations that, due to the lack of a local Dairy Advisor, currently have limited access to the full array of resources provided by the University. Again, we fully encourage the creation of this position to serve the producers of Sonoma, Marin & Mendocino counties and look forward to working together with the University in continued support of these dairies.

Very truly yours,

Michael Marsh, CPA
Chief Executive Officer
Western United Dairymen
Posted Jul 16, 2014 4:07 PM by Western United Dairymen
California’s dairy industry, now the nation’s largest, began right here in the North Bay. Working with what Mother Nature provides this coastal region, “Cow heaven” provides the ideal conditions for dairy cattle and marketing of those products with close proximity to the bay area. The science and technology to assist our dairies in becoming more progressive and conservation oriented is available. Important partnerships between land trusts, RCD’s, NRCS, and UC Cooperative Extension help to connect and inform producers to maintain and improve overall production, soil and pasture management, water quality, and sustainability for future generations. This Dairy adviser position would be a great asset to this areas conservation organizations and the entire agricultural community.
Thank you,
Jim Jensen, Stewardship Associate
Marin Agricultural Land Trust
Posted Jul 17, 2014 11:54 AM by Jim Jensen
I am writing as the Coordinator of the Mendocino County Food Policy Council. As an advisory group representing Mendocino County's food and farming community and as shepherds of our 2014 Food Action Plan, we want to offer our unanimous approval of this position. Mendocino County is home to a number of family run dairies that seek the support and expertise of a position such as this. We echo the comments already shared in terms of the benefits it will bring to shoring up the existing industry and paving the way for a new generation of dairies to emerge with confidence in the business of dairy and on-farm practices that protect natural resources. We strongly encourage the funding of this position.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 12:56 PM by Jen Dalton
Dairy has long been an important economic resource for the North Bay. Sadly, the ability to compete in the larger market has been hampered by geographic isolation, increase costs of production, and a changing regulatory landscape. These factors have made it increasingly difficult for small producers to stay afloat. Fortunately the growing demand for organic and local products in general has provided a life line to this important sector. The creation of a UCCE Dairy Advisor would be invaluable to these small producers, and would improve the viability of new operations. Please support the creation of this position.

Thank you,
Clifford Paulin, Coordinator
North Coast Regional Food Systems Network
Posted Jul 17, 2014 1:32 PM by Clifford Paulin
It would be beneficial to the tri-counties to have the expertise of a UC Davis Dairy Advisor. We as an industry are facing many challenges.

Ana Cox
Shamrock Artisan Goat Cheese
Summer Breeze Grade A Goat Dairy
Mendocino County
Posted Jul 17, 2014 1:54 PM by Ana & Gilbert Cox
Milk is the top valued commodity in California, accounting for $6.9 billion in 2012. California also happens to be the number one milk producing state in the nation, producing about 22% of the US milk supply. In recent years, the dairy industry has been plagued with a combination of low milk prices and very high feed prices, conditions that have led to numerous dairy closures in recent years. Applied research is desperately needed to address the challenges of the CA dairy industry. Increased regulatory pressure has been an area where UC ANR has played a huge role in aiding producers, specifically through the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program. There are currently five dairy advisors serving the state’s top valued commodity, with only one (recently hired) advisor north of the San Joaquin Valley (who also serves as County Director).

Issues specific to the proposed areas are quite different from current UCCE Dairy Advisor programs, and need to be addressed. Issues related to organic milk production, grazing efficiencies and niche marketing are some of the areas not currently addressed by advisors serving the more traditional dairy areas of the state. While on the surface, the North Bay industry seems very different from the San Joaquin Valley dairy industry, there are overlapping needs that can be addressed through collaborative research. For example, improving production efficiencies, animal well-being, and cost of production (including feed costs), are all areas that every California dairy strives to improve, regardless of geographic location.

The need for North Bay Dairy Advisor is great, and is a top priority of the Dairy Health and Production Workgroup. With only 5 dairy advisors serving the state of California’s dairies, approving recruitment for this position would reaffirm the University’s commitment to production agriculture in California, and fill a much needed position in the UC dairy team.

Dairy Health and Production Workgroup
Noelia Silva-del-Rio, Chair
Jennifer Heguy, Co-Chair

Posted Jul 18, 2014 1:57 PM by Jennifer Heguy
Mendocino County has a strong tradition of dairy production that is seeing a resurgence. As founding member of the Mendocino Co. Food Policy Council, we have had numerous inquiries from producers and resources for support and management of local dairy operations. The creation of a UCCE Dairy Advisor position would be an essential asset is supporting the rebuilding of our dairy resources. We strongly support this position.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 3:16 PM by Miles Gordon
On behalf of the Dairy Quality Assurance Workgroup the following comments are provided:

Pasture and confinement dairy operations exist in Sonoma/Marin Counties. The dairy industry in this geographic area remains a large economic driver in the rural landscape. Dairy producers effectively manage natural resources. Dairies in Sonoma/Marin Counties rely heavily on natural resources (water and pasture). Local producers would gain tremendous knowledge and resources could be managed better were UC ANR able to locate a dairy advisor in Sonoma/Marin Counties. The high percentage of organic herds opens an unlimited opportunity to compare organic versus conventional facilities under California conditions and disseminate successful practices to other producers. Animal health and well-being (mastitis, reproductive performance), pasture management, weed, control, food safety, and environmental stewardship are very important research areas. Many goat, sheep, and milk cow operators produce on-farm cheese in the region. Making educational information available for these niche producers would improve economic well-being. Producers have relied upon the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program for environmental regulatory outreach. The local arm of UC ANR would assist in development and dissemination of information on water quality regulations. This would be a huge asset to the region. Drought conditions have exacerbated the importance of maintaining water and water quality. A dairy advisor could work with the Representative Monitoring Program (surface water monitoring) to aid in understanding and dissemination of information to maximize the impact of the surface water monitoring program. This individual will provided much needed additional depth to the UCCE dairy team. Currently we have no advisor or specialist focusing in farm resource management, animal well being, analysis of production practices, or pasture management.

The Dairy Quality Assurance Workgroup places this position in a high priority category.
Posted Jul 19, 2014 9:23 AM by Deanne Meyer
The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board supports the position of Dairy Advisor for Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties. Since our board adopted water quality regulation of North Coast dairies in 2012, we have worked hard to meet with dairy operators and stakeholders to educate the community on the new permit requirements. A Dairy Advisor would be a much appreciated addition to our stakeholder group as there has been a gap in the area of local representation from the University of California.

We have completed about 50 dairy inspections in Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties in the past three years. It is obvious that there is a very slim operating budget on many of these dairies. Clearly, the area would benefit from a local Dairy Advisor to help the community strive to meet water quality regulations and compete in the changing market and climate. Sound advice is essential to the dairy community in order to keep operations protective of surface water and groundwater quality.

Much funding has gone to helping dairies in the Central Valley of California. It is now essential that these unique North Coast dairies obtain a representative that can facilitate solutions to meeting new regulations while helping the dairy run more efficiently to make a profit. Please consider our support for the Dairy Advisor position for these counties.

Thank you.
Cherie Blatt, Water Resource Control Engineer
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Posted Jul 21, 2014 11:57 AM by Cherie Blatt, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, Santa Rosa, CA
As UCCE Dairy Advisor in the Northern Sacramento Valley, I wholeheartedly second the comments made by my colleagues on behalf of the Dairy Health & Production and Dairy Quality Assurance Workgroups. I am the only Dairy Advisor (recently hired, at that) north of San Joaquin County. The dairy industry is significant in Sonoma and Marin Counties and an Advisor in this area would provide perspective and expertise missing from the existing team of only 5 UCCE Dairy Advisors. It’s amazing that dairy extension in the highest producing dairy state in the nation is served by so few Advisors. This position should be considered high priority.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 3:17 PM by Betsy Karle
The California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) supports the Dairy Advisor Sonoma/Marin as a high priority position. The Sonoma/Marin area is home to both pasture and confinement style dairies. These dairies are a critical component to the area’s economic vitality and possess their own unique challenges of operation. As a base funder of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, CDRF has partnered with the University of California Cooperative Extension in providing critical outreach to producers on environmental stewardship, animal care and food safety issues. In particular, the area’s geography invokes unique environmental stewardship challenges. A local advisor to assist producers in identifying solutions and implementing best management practices would be of great value to producers in the area. The position would help producers manage finite natural resources and assist them in remaining a beneficial part of the local landscape. In addition, the individual would be a valuable asset to established environmental networks and partnerships already operating in the area but currently void of a UC expert team member focused on dairy. Such teams include but are not limited to the Resource Monitoring Program and the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program.
Thank you.
Gonca Pasin, RD, PhD
Executive Director
California Dairy Research Foundation
Posted Jul 21, 2014 4:01 PM by Gonca Pasin, RD, PhD
Dairy Cares, a coalition of California dairy producer associations, producer-owned cooperatives and processors of dairy products, strongly supports the filling of this position.

With the recent adoption of new, comprehensive water quality regulations for dairies by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, this dairy advisor position will serve as a hub for water quality information in the North Coast. This position will not only provide direct assistance to dairy producers on this important issue, but will also facilitate development of a stronger and better-informed consultant community and more efficient delivery of successful existing resources, such as California Dairy Quality Assurance Program classes and compliance assistance tools, to dairies.

North Coast dairies are an important part of the California dairy community, facing similar challenges to dairies across the state, but with fewer resources to assist them all around. This position would help to alleviate that imbalance and allow for development of a stronger and more economically and environmentally sustainable dairy industry on the North Coast.

We strongly support the filling of this position, which will see benefits to the economy and environment far exceeding this investment.

J.P. Cativiela
Program Coordinator
Dairy Cares
Posted Jul 21, 2014 4:32 PM by J.P. Cativiela, Dairy Cares Program Coordinator

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