Local Dairy Farmers Adjust to Challenges

Local Dairy Farmers Adjust to Challenges

Friday, January 4, 2013 - 9:00am

CONTENT: Article

When Straus Family Creamery became the first certified organic dairy in 1994, there was no system in place to distribute and sell their milk, so they launched Straus Family Creamery, which allowed them to develop, create and distribute their own consumer products. Today a small group of dairies supply Straus with organic milk. According to president, Albert Straus, the company is experiencing “double-digit growth,” even in the face of a down economy. Straus has developed a product line that extends beyond just milk and is now riding the wave of enthusiasm for yogurt in all its forms. Another fact he is particularly proud of is that organic farms are growing in number. “Nearly two-thirds of the dairies in the Marin/Sonoma area are now certified organic.”

Straus faced economic problems similar to today's when he took over management of the dairy in 1977, a time when the small family farms were declining and large operations gained dominance. Having tackled those issues early on, he is aware that greater efficiencies and new markets are needed to sustain present-day dairy farmers. “Our parents, and in many cases, three and four generations of family, worked hard all their lives to keep their land agricultural,” he said. “But we're continuing to lose dairy producers and generations of knowledge.”

Continue reading about organic dairy farms in California's Marin and Sonoma counties.