College - Author 1

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Department - Author 1

Dairy Science Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Dairy Science



Primary Advisor

Leanne Berning


To determine the financial feasibility and stability of starting a small-scale organic jersey dairy in Northern California, given the changes and restrictions that must take place in all aspects of production while operating organically. Using a unique combination of ownership and borrowing, I have created a business model made to appropriately fit the organic dairy system, addressing every area of the operation whether it be business or animal related. Through experience, reviews, and research of organic techniques allowable to apply, I was able to reveal and identify specific areas of husbandry and financing in which I would need to excel in order to be successful in this endeavor.

Due to differences in practices between conventional and organic dairy systems, through several analysis’ I was able to conclude that a large focus of my husbandry efforts be devoted towards intensive grazing and pasture management, mastitis prevention, and overall herd health and fertility, while still considering the positive and indirect effects of using proper genetic, nutrition, and maintenance practices.

Financially, results reflected not only obtainable goals in the form of breakeven levels and total farm income, but accurately displays the direction of revenues and expenses as related to start-up costs and the characteristics of the organic dairy industry. Though profit margins on similar organic dairy systems may not be as easily increased as on a commercially or confinement style dairies, the market volatility and regional consumer demand make for a fairly stable industry and business structure. Given the results, I have concluded that after a combination of post-undergraduate work, experience, and personal savings, 3-5 years will be a reasonable estimated timeframe to begin production.