The Buttke Family Dairy, a true family farm where several generations work together to produce milk and meat, is being honored as the Sonoma County Fair’s Outstanding Dairy of the Year in the North Bay. The Buttkes will be presented with the Edward J. Maddalena Memorial Trophy on Farmer’s Day at the Fair, August 5 in Chris Beck Arena.
Established in 1977, the dairy is run by owners Doug and Judy Buttke and son, Nick, 33, and they are passing the tradition along to their four grandsons as well. The Buttkes milk 150 dairy cows and run a herd of beef cattle on 750 acres of leased ranch land along Blank Road in the hills south of Sebastopol. This is a true family farm, with all three generations working together to handle the chores—milking, feeding, cleaning and more—365 days a year. Dedication and teamwork allow them to preserve the rural lifestyle they cherish.
“It’s definitely the lifestyle that keeps us plugging away every day so that we can stay on the land and do what we love. On a ranch, we are able to work together as a family in the country. I just couldn’t see us living in the city,” says Judy Buttke, a fourth-generation North Bay dairy rancher who is a member of the Corda family of Petaluma. “We are hoping that dairy farming and agriculture will remain viable in Sonoma County for future generations.”
Judy is active in the North Bay Dairywomen and is the Chairperson of the annual Dairy Princess Contest and Ball, now in its 55th year. She also serves on the District 3 Committee of the California Milk Advisory Board and is District Director of the California Dairy Campaign. Doug previously served on the Sonoma-Marin 4-H Dairy Replacement Heifer Committee.
In addition to Nick, the Buttkes have a daughter, Clarette McDonald, who lives in Valley Ford with her family and works as the office manager at Dairymen’s Feed & Supply Co-op in Petaluma, and another son, Glen, who drives for Chisholm Trail Hay Transportation.