Even during her time in college at Cal State Chico, Dayna Ghirardelli knew that she wanted to be back home in Sonoma and involved with the dairy industry. Following graduation, she returned to Sonoma and Marin Counties and served as the Dairy Program Representative for the University of California Cooperative Extension where she was “introduced to the local dairy industry at another level.”

She served in an educational and supportive role to all dairy farms, helping them to be in and maintain regulatory compliance. “I knew all of the dairies in Sonoma and Marin Counties. I helped them navigate through water quality and other environmental issues by guiding them through the completion of Ranch Plans and other supportive documents.”

She became a resource for assistance and guidance as needed to all local dairy producers. It was a natural next step for her to work for Clover in Producer Relations. As she recalls,
“Given my experience, working for Clover in Producer Relations seemed fitting. “I
fell right into place.”

Clover was at the same time familiar and different––familiar because it was dairy and local but different in its emphasis on consistent quality. As Dayna explains, “Where other dairy companies offer an incentive to dairy producers to ship good quality milk, that can result in an inconsistent product. Clover pays its dairy producers to maintain its standards which allows for all milk that is bottled to be of the highest quality.”

But Clover also recognizes that without the quality and hard work of the dairy families that partner with them, they are just another dairy company. Clover’s respect for the dairy families is captured in a saying that has been at Clover for many years: it all starts with the milk on the farm that is brought into Clover. We [Clover] work hard to not screw it up.”

Dayna recalls that this saying even preceded her. “What I thought about Clover was that it was a highly regarded company in our community and they were doing things right. With the change in the dairy landscape given tough economic and regulatory times for dairy businesses, Clover would be in it for the long haul.”

Clover’s “long-haul perspective” is reflected in their partnerships with producers who know the value of quality and the importance of keeping up with changing expectations and regulations. Dayna knew that Clover was a tremendous asset to both the dairy and general community. And as she says, “I wanted to be a part of all of it.”

While Dayna concedes that no two days are the same, her favorite days are getting out on the dairies to “check-in” and visit with producers. As Dayna explains: “The conversations range from how things are going on their dairy to informing them of updates at Clover to talking about industry issues and status. Just as important to me is to visit about their families and what is going on in their world. We are colleagues, but we are also friends.

It is the relationships that are the favorite aspect of Dayna’s job. “Knowing all of the hard-working, committed dairy families personally is definitely an incredible reward. I grew up in this industry so I knew most of them prior to Clover, but working directly with them over the last 9 years has been tremendous.”

Dayna’s commitment to Clover’s mission is personal as well a professional, and it is strongly local. She says, “One day as I was pouring Clover milk from a gallon jug it hit me… “I literally know exactly where every drop of this milk came from. That, in and of itself, is pretty
amazing.”

With Clover, she has grown as a professional and as a woman in an industry that
has predominantly been male driven. Knowledge of and participation in the dairy
industry overall has helped her gain respect from mentors and peers. Her time at Clover has also enabled her become more confident about what she can offer the industry while learning more about myself by way of patience and perseverance.

Her efforts at Clover extend into supporting local efforts in the Clommunity. She has been a part of the local District 3 Dairy Princess Contest and Ball for nearly 20
years. There she works directly with each contestant (high school seniors) on public
speaking and interview skills. She serves on the Agricultural Advisory Committee at
Petaluma High School, as well as the Advisory Committee for the Animal Science/Dairy
Science Department at California Polytechnic at San Luis Obispo, where curriculum
oversight is the goal. And she’s recently been appointed to serve as a Director on the 4 th DistrictAgricultural Association, also known as the Sonoma-Marin Fair. Dayna thinks “It is very important to ensure support of all local agriculture, both 4-H/FFA and current farmers, by making myself available to support their causes. Clover’s social mission promotes and
supports these efforts.”

And Dayna has also been a 4-H Dairy Project Leader and Community Club Leader, working at the local fairs in the livestock area to assist with the dairy shows. She has been on the Howard Clementino Memorial Milk Barn Committee at the Sonoma-Marin Fair where she collaborated with others to make the milking barn available for exhibitors to milk their cows.

Dayna explains: “Fair guests could see a cow get milked and understand where their milk comes from. This is important. It matters.”