Silacci Family Farm
Ben and Jessica Silacci are third-generation dairy farmers who have recently taken over ownership of the Silacci Dairy in Petaluma from Ben’s father. Their closed, organic herd currently consists of 85 Holstein and Jersey milking cows, and they intend to grow to approximately 150 cows. In addition to the dairy operation, the Silacci family grows about 25% of their own high-quality feeds (organic alfalfa and clover) and all of their organic pasture grasses and silage on 196 acres of rolling hills and pasture.
Ben Silacci started working at his father’s dairy farm right out of college. Jessica also grew up on a farm in Petaluma, where she was introduced early on to cattle. She got her first heifer (named Dixie) in third grade, which was instrumental in developing the family’s herd over the following decade.
After seven years in progress, Ben and his father mutually agreed to a transition. Ben bought out his father’s interest in the farm and took over the management of the farm with Jessica. This generational transition is a vital opportunity for a family farm to successfully move toward a viable economic future.
The land has been in dairy farming since the 1940s, and became noted in the 1950s for its elevated barn, only the second such structure ever built in Northern California. Then owned by Ben’s grandfather and great uncle, the farm produced dairy, chickens, beef cattle and a number of feed crops.
Working with Straus Family Creamery
In January of 2012, Jessica started looking into transitioning to organic farming, because it was the only business model that was profitable and viable in the long term. The conversion itself wasn’t too complicated because “there was already an old-school philosophy around here and not many changes or adjustments were needed,” she explained.
Straus Family Creamery reached out to the Silaccis in early 2013. The young family is a great fit for Straus Family Creamery, with their energetic and progressive take on farming, land stewardship and animal husbandry – we are happy to have them in our group of local, organic milk producers.