Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

I belong to... DFA: Perry Tjaarda

Published on 03 February 2010

Perry Tjaarda

"Tjaarda Dairy is a Gold Standard Dairy, signifying a commitment to high standards for quality milk production and environmental stewardship, and was honored as a Member of Distinction Farm in 2009."
—Glenn Wallace, Chief Operating Officer, DFA Western Area




Age: 53

Location: Shafter, California

My dairy’s history: Tjaarda Dairy was established by my father in 1964. Together with my wife and my parents, I own and operate a dairy farm milking 3,000 cows. We also grow wheat and corn for silage and raise our own replacement stock, as well as farm almond trees.

If I wasn’t a dairyman, I would be ... doing something that allows me to be outside. I enjoy working in the outdoors.

I have been a DFA member for ....12 years, since its founding in 1998.


I joined DFA because .... it just made sense. I believe in the strength of numbers and liked what DFA could offer going forward in terms of products and product development for its customers. I also welcomed the opportunity to be part of an industry organization that extends from coast to coast.

My favorite DFA representative is my field service representative Kurt Lewis because .... besides being a big DFA promoter, Kurt is very concerned about the producers he represents and is dedicated to doing whatever he can for them.

What DFA does best is ... communicate with its members, whether it’s about changes in the industry, services available to members or other important news.

I feel valued as a member when .... leaders in the industry are willing to listen to what I say, whether it’s right or wrong.

An influential person for my dairy whom I’ve met through DFA is ... Tom Camerlo.



He is helpful/influential because ... I admired Tom’s dedication to the industry. You could always tell when you talked to him that he really believed in DFA.

My worst struggle in dairying was/is ... 2009.

I hope my dairy legacy is .... that through the various boards and groups I’m involved with that I’m able to make a positive and lasting difference for the industry.

If I were running DFA, I would ... say thanks, but no thanks. I’ve seen first-hand how hard Rick Smith, DFA’s president and CEO, works, and it’s a job I don’t envy.

My advice to all dairymen is ... to be passionate about what you do, to persevere, think outside the box and recognize that it’s okay to have some fun along the way. PD