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Robert McClelland Dairy

Jolynn and Robert McClelland own and operate the Robert McClelland Dairy in Sonoma County, close to the West Marin border. The 220-acre dairy is home to 250 cows, mainly Holsteins, some Jerseys, and Jersey cross-breeds.

Jolynn and Robert both have a deep commitment to their family’s dairy farming legacy in Marin and Sonoma Counties. As young adults, they met each other through FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America). They  both grew up on dairy farms, and knew from a young age that they would follow a similar path as their multi-generational dairy farming families.

June 2023

The husband and wife team began supplying Straus Family Creamery with certified organic milk from their farm in November 2023.

“With Straus being local, this builds another niche beyond just being organic,” Jolynn said. “Robert and I grew up watching the evolution of Straus Family Creamery.  A lot of their philosophy aligns with ours. We were also looking for a stable market to ensure efficient milk management.” Jolynn added that Straus Family Creamery is very loyal to its community of farmers.

Robert McClelland Dairy Facts

McClelland’s land became certified organic.

Healthier Land & Carbon Neutrality

McClelland’s land became certified organic in 2002. The certification was a natural progression for them as the couple’s dairy was already pasture-based, so the transition to organic wasn’t a big learning curve.  Jolynn said organic farming practices allow the farm to have healthier herds and focus on animal welfare—one of the principles of organic production.

As a mother, she also thinks about her children and their future. Jolynn has a deep desire to provide better, more nutritious food for her family.  She is proud to reduce their farm’s environmental impact by not using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides and instead focusing on improving the land’s natural resources, building healthy soil, improving water quality, and other benefits, as required by the USDA Organic Standards.

The McClelland family is entering the second year of their California Healthy Soils program, enabling them to increase their on-farm composting application on 110 acres of pasture. Applying compost on managed pastures improves their soil’s organic matter, enabling more water retention and the ability to sequester carbon.

On their farm, they make their own silage (fermented grass for the dry pasture season), which reduces their feed costs. Jolynn and Robert are also working with the Gold Ridge Conservation District in Sebastopol on their Carbon Farm Plan to outline and set goals for their on-farm methane emission reduction and carbon sequestration.

Along with the other supplying farms, they are on the path to carbon neutrality by 2030.

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