The topic of Class XXXII’s first Leadership Santa Rosa program day was Agriculture. After our fascinating pretour of a mushroom farm in Sebastopol, I was excited to see what the day would bring, but not so excited about starting at 6am. Ugh! I can’t complain too much though, since our first stop was the Bucher Dairy, a 2nd generation family-owned organic dairy farm on 360 acres near Healdsburg, where they are up every day at 1am to start milking the cows. Yikes! They have 700 dairy cows producing milk for Clover Storneta, and in recent years planted a 40 acre vineyard to support their own wine label, Bucher. I learned a lot about how the farm operates and how they have integrated new technology over time to increase efficiency, including creating their own “plate cooler” that works like a heat exchanger to passively cool the milk with stored water.
Our next stop was Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm for a panel discussion with Tony Linegar, the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner, Karissa Kruse, the President of the Sonoma County Wingrowers, and Doug Beretta from Beretta Family Organic Dairy.