2019 Grassfed Exchange Tours


Greatness in Grazing:  Pasture Management that will make the Neighbors Jealous - Dairy 

Dr. Cynthia Daley leads a forage and pasture master class learning from some of the best grazers in the business. Dairy producers’ daily feedback mechanism, milk production, has allowed them to hone forage management and grazing skills to the highest level. This tour will explore two iconic dairies in Sonoma County, the McClelland and Beretta dairies that utilize Sonoma’s lush, green pastures expertly to produce nutrient-dense food for healthy people. Experience how they balance the intricacies of soil health, plant diversity, animal nutrition and production drivers

Beretta Dairy is a family-run 100% organic dairy strongly focused on environmental stewardship. Learn about how they transitioned off chemical fertilizers to grazing pastures and growing their own feed. Learn about their grazing strategies on irrigated pastures, including using recycled water to avoid groundwater pumping, producing forage for cows even in months of little rain. Other presentations will focus on the economics of their soil amendment trials, and how forage diet affects the milk’s nutrient density. Tour Lead: Jen Beretta

McClelland Dairy is an organic family farm and dairy committed to health and well-being.  Nature is the priority as they work hard to turn out the highest quality product for their customers.  Learn how they have grown their multispecies enterprises to include dairy products, eggs, European style butter, farm events, tourism, and how they deal with grazing challenges on non-irrigated, warm-season pastures.  There will also be a presentation on nutritional requirements for grazing lactating dairy cows. Tour Lead: Jana McClelland


Dairy Tour Agenda

8:00 AM  Buses depart for tour from the Flamingo Conference Center (Load buses at 7:30)

4:00 PM  Buses arrive at Flamingo Conference Center



Integrating Livestock for Land Restoration - Beef

This tour will feature two different flavors of regenerative production.  Learn how one family operation is successfully navigating the challenges of modern production with a regenerative focus.  The other operation is built around leased ground and contract grazing to achieve environmental restoration.

Stemple Creek Ranch Nestled in the coastal hills of Northern California near the town of Tomales, Stemple Creek Ranch has been home to the Poncia family for four generations.  Learn how Loren and his wife Lisa have reinvented the family business with a vision for raising superior quality grass fed and finished meats.  Their homegrown company focuses on the direct-to-consumer market and is profitable and growing exponentially.  In addition, they will share results they are seeing from monitoring their regenerative practices and discuss how agritourism has been a key way for their operation to hedge risk.  

Sonoma Mountain Institute (SMI) is a Non Profit that focuses on adaptive planned grazing as a tool to increase biodiversity and ecological health across Marin and Sonoma Counties. SMI manages 8 properties totaling 4500 acres across the counties running both organic beef cattle and organic dairy heifers. In collaboration with a local business, Grounded Land and Livestock, SMI has managed to increase plant biodiversity on their home ranch by 193%.

Beef Tour Agenda

7:30 AM    Buses depart for tour from the Flamingo Conference Center (Load buses at 7:00)

4:30 PM    Buses arrive at the Flamingo Conference Center




McClelland's Dairy

McClelland's Dairy

McClelland Dairy is a family farm and dairy committed to health and well-being.  Nature is the priority as they work hard to turn out the highest quality product for their customers.  Learn how they have grown the operation and how they deal with their grazing challenges on non-irrigated, warm-season pastures.  There will also be a presentation on nutritional requirements for grazing lactating dairy cows.  Nestled in the rolling hills of Sonoma County California lies the McClelland’s Dairy, a family farm established and run by family members who are committed to the health and well-being of their cows, land and their customers. In a world that is getting more impersonal and complicated every day, the McClelland’s have succeeded in creating a farming environment where nature is priority and their cows and chickens thrive. Because the McClelland cows and chickens are eating organic pasture with no GMO’s, pesticides, or commercial fertilizers, it’s believed that their milk and eggs have a variety of beneficial qualities including higher levels of antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids. The McClelland’s provide their family and their customers with the highest quality products possible. It’s our belief that there is a direct correlation between the food that animals eat and the quality of the product being produced. It’s our quest for a top-quality product that drives our operation today as it will for the generations to come.

Visit their website:  www.mcclellandsdairy.com 


Beretta Dairy

Beretta Dairy

In 1948, Doug Beretta’s grandfather bought a ranch on Llano Road and started what would become Dairy of the Year in 1998. The dairy was an early adopter of environmentally friendly practices and has continued to champion management practices in regards to water quality, nutrient and pasture management. In 2007, Doug and his father transitioned the dairy to an organic operation. The decision was an easy one as many of the requirements were already implemented into their current management practices. In 2010, Doug purchased the dairy from his father and continues to run it with the help of his wife Sharon, their three children Jennifer, Lisa and Ryan, and what will be the 5th generation on the Beretta dairy, his 7 year old grandson Braydon. Doug said he always envisioned running the dairy someday with the help of his entire family. Today, Sharon and their children all have significant roles on the ranch. While Doug knows it is important for him to oversee all aspects of the ranch, he and his oldest daughter Jennifer share an appreciation specifically for the cow herd, while his son Ryan focuses on farming and ranch operations. Sharon not only still handles the books, but she spends an equal amount of time with their other daughter Lisa taking care of calves at the Dolcini Jersey Dairy. While everyone has their specialty, the whole family is well versed on all aspects of the dairy. He explained that at times, Ryan will help with the cows, and Jennifer has clocked several hours on a tractor. With such an important emphasis on a family run dairy, Doug’s future goals are to continue


Stemple Creek

Stemple Creek

Stemple Creek Ranch Nestled in the coastal hills of Northern California near the town of Tomales, Stemple Creek Ranch has been home to the Poncia family for four generations.  Learn how Loren and his wife Lisa have reinvented the family business with a vision for raising superior quality grass fed and finished meats. Their homegrown company focuses on the direct-to-consumer market and is profitable and growing exponentially. In addition, they will share results they are seeing from monitoring their regenerative practices and discuss how agritourism has been a key way for their operation to hedge risk.  

Their history in Marin County began over a century ago when Angelo Poncia immigrated to the remote outpost of Fallon from his native Italy. The dairy he originally established on this land survived for three successive generations.

Today, Stemple Creek Ranch is proudly run by Angelo’s great-grandson Loren, and his wife Lisa. Their daughters Avery and Julianna, along with their cousins, will be the fifth generation to steward the land.

Visit their website:  www.stemplecreek.com



Sonoma Mountain Institute and Grounded Grassfed

Sonoma Mountain Institute and Grounded Grassfed

Sonoma Mountain Institute and Grounded Grassfed

Sonoma Mountain Institute (SMI) was founded as a foundation in 2003 with the intention of ecologically restoring landscapes and becoming a learning lab for effective restoration methodologies. SMI obtained encouraging results in the woodlands and drainages with a combination of compost tea applications, planting and progressive watershed restoration. However, the pastures deteriorated year after year under a regime of mowing, planting, thistle pulling and compost tea application. In 2012, a restoration grazing program was introduced at SMI in the hopes that properly managed cattle could restore the deteriorating grasslands. SMI brought on Nate Chisholm (former Production Manager at Marin Sun Farms) and Byron Palmer (Former Ranch Manager at Tara Firma Farms) to begin and run the grazing program.

The grazing program began with the hope of executing and documenting successful management on SMI’s properties. In this vein SMI Established over 70 vegetation monitoring locations across our properties under management and multiple soil monitoring locations which are performed by biologists. Since the grazing program began in 2012 SMI has seen a 142% overall increase in native species and 126% increase in overall total species vegetation on their home ranch. 

Currently SMI has 8 properties under management at about ~4500 acres and partners with public and private organizations to effectuate this management. SMI also collaborates with Grounded Grassfed owned and operated by Byron Palmer and Nate Chisholm to source cattle and manage agricultural logistics. Grounded Grass Fed also runs a small direct market grass fed beef operation to local families in the Bay Area.  


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