Jim Quist, Fresno

Vice President
Brett Barlass, Hilmar

Cathy Sanders, Hilmar

Kate Garcia, Turlock

Grant Ahlem, Hilmar
Gary de Graaf, Pixley
Jonathan Merriam, Hilmar
C.A. Russell, Hilmar
Mike Wickstrom, Hilmar
Scott Wickstrom, Hilmar


Articles on California
Jersey Breeders

NAJ Director Mike Wickstrom
February 2016 Jersey Journal

Yosemite Jersey Dairy
June 2012 Jersey Journal

Fire-Lake Jerseys
February 2012 Jersey Journal

Wickstrom Family
November 2011 Jersey Journal

Quist Dairy
August 2011 Jersey Journal

Van Exel Family
July 2011 Jersey Journal

James Ahlem Dairy
April 2010 Jersey Journal


Charles D. Ahlem
2016 AJCA Distinguished Service Award

Richard Clauss
2016 AJCA-NAJ Award for Meritorious Service

Hank Van Exel
2015 World Dairy Expo Dairyman of the Year

Ahlem Farms Partnership
2015 National Dairy Shrine Distinguished Cattle Breeder

Donald Sherman
2011 AJCA Distinguished Service Award

Donald and Elsa Sherman
2010 AJCA Master Breeder

Ahlem Farms Partnership
and Ed Fisher
2009 AJCA Master Breeder



California has been the leading milk-producing state since it overtook Wisconsin as the largest producer of fluid milk in 1993. The Golden State also ranks first in the production of butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk and second in the manufacture of cheese.

Dairy is the state's top agriculture business, with 440,000-plus jobs and annual gross receipts of $47 billion. About 70% of the state's milk is produced on dairies in five counties in the Central Valley, including Tulare, Merced, Stanislaus, Kings and Kern counties.

Jerseys are ideal for producing milk and cheese in California, which has minimum component standards that exceed national standards (8.75% solids-not-fat and 3.5% fat for whole fluid milk versus national minimums of 8.25% solids-not-fat and 3.25% fat) and uses 47% of its milk in the creation of cheese.

California dairies are among the largest in the country. As is common in the U.S., nearly all are family-owned and many are passed from generation to generation.

California is home to the largest single-site cheese plant in the world, Hilmar Cheese, headquartered in Merced County. The company was established by a group of Jersey breeders in 1984 and recently expanded its cheese-making capacity by building a new plant in Dalhart, Texas. Combined, the two plants produce 1.9 million pounds of cheese every day using milk from many of the Registered Jersey dairies in the region.

Registered Jersey Facts

California leads the nation in number of animals registered with the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA), with 46,027 registrations in 2015. Fifty-six herds from California are enrolled on REAP, with an average herd size just over 800 cows.

California bred and owned Sunwest Mor Carrier Miss 100000 was the 100,000th Jersey to be registered with double-matching JerseyTags. She and her owners, Brock, Jonas and Will Tate of Sunwest Jersey Dairy in Hilmar, were featured on the cover of the May 2009 Jersey Journal.
CLICK HERE for details.
  A California junior, Kamryn Kasbergen, 4, and her heifer graced the cover of the April 2016 issue of the magazine. Her family operates Rancho Teresita Dairy in Tulare. The heifer is Kash-In Premier Fiona-ET, 4th intermediate calf at the 2015 All American Jersey Show.

The state dominates the rankings of the breed's high-producing herds. Two herds rank among the top herds in the country for milk, fat or protein production. James Ahlem of Hilmar ranks second for milk, sixth for fat and third for protein with a 2015 lactation average of 26,297M, 1,232F and 910P on 2,305 cows. Cal Poly Corporation of San Luis Obispo ranks sixth for milk with 24,064M, 1,122F and 822P on 103 cows.

Twelve other California dairies rank among the top herds in the country based on herd size: (750 or more cows) Ahlem Foothills Farms of Denair, Wickstrom Jersey Farms Inc. of Hilmar, Red Top Jerseys of Hilmar, Ahlem Farms Jerseys of Hilmar, Charles Ahlem of Hilmar, Bamboo Jerseys of Hilmar; (300-749 cows) Wickstrom Brothers of Hilmar, Jade Dairy of Hilmar, Twin Star Dairy of Turlock, Four J Jerseys of Tipton, Live Oak Dairy of Hilmar; and (150-299 cows) Hank and Carolyn Van Exel of Lodi.

Six California cows also earned laurels in the 2015 Leading Living Lifetime Production Contest. Three owned by Jer-Z-Boyz of Pixley ranked, including GR Jer-Z-Boyz Lemvig 8853, GR Jer-Z-Boyz Mecca 14045 and GR Jer-Z-Boyz Mecca 12608. Three owned by Yosemite Jersey Dairy of Hilmar also placed, including Yosemite Daniel C12360, Yosemite Elgin B9402 and Yosemite Fanclub Trader D13289.

California Leadership

The state has been on the leadership and community service forefront for many years. Three Jersey breeders have served the national Jersey organizations as president of National All-Jersey (NAJ) Inc. and three have presided over the AJCA.

California Jersey breeders have also earned national recognition. Ten have been presented with the prestigious Master Breeder award from the AJCA, more than any other state.

Charles Ahlem earned the AJCA Distinguished Service Award in 2016. Dick Clauss received the AJCA-NAJ Award for Meritorious Service in 2016.
Ahlem Farms Partnership earned the National Dairy Shrine's Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder Award in 2015. Pictured are herd owners, Roger and Teresa Herrera, Carolyn and Bill Ahlem and Lindsay and Sabino Herrera-Ahlem. Hank Van Exel received the Dairyman of the Year award from World Dairy Expo in 2015.
Donnie and Elsa Sherman
Cari Wolfe, left, presents the AJCA Distinguished Service Award to the late Donnie
Sherman and his wife, Elsa, in 2010.
Vance Ahlem, with his wife, Ashley, and their children, Yale and Brooklyn, were honored with the AJCA Young Jersey Breeder Award in 2011. Grant Ahlem, pictured with his wife, Melissa, and their children, Jacob and Reese, received an AJCA Young Jersey Breeder Award in 2010.

Seven California breeders received the national Jersey organization's Distinguished Service Award, including the most recent recipient, Charles D. Ahlem of Hilmar. Two garnered the newest national award, the Award for Meritorious Service, including this year's recipient, Richard H. Clauss of Hilmar. Both Ahlem and Clauss were honored for receiving their awards at the AJCA-NAJ Annual Meetings hosted by California Jersey breeders this summer.

In the past 35 years, 17 California breeders have received the AJCA Young Jersey Breeder. Included in this group is Paul Bianchi of Valley Ford, who was recognized with the inaugural award in 1976.

CLICK HERE for a complete listing of national award winners and AJCA and NAJ presidents from California.

Welcome | Activities | Juniors | Junior Activities | Contact