After 125 years in business, the oldest dairy west of the Rockies is to close. Giacomazzi Dairy, a family-owned business in Hanford California, has decided to call it a day as the economic climate has become very tough for dairy farmers. With an ever-increasing vegan trend towards animal-free plant foods, dairy farmers are beginning to look to more profitable crops.
Almonds, pistachios and grapes give a higher return than milking cows
“You’re better off putting your money into trees…almonds, pistachios, grapes. There’s a lot of alternatives that provide a higher return than milking cows,” dairy farmer Dino Kasbergen told ABC.
The family has decided to move more comprehensively into almonds. It already has 400 acres of almond trees, and now plans to grow that to 900 acres.
The fingerprints of the increasing move to plant-based foods are all over this economic decision.
“Being that this dairy is over 125 years old, it’s not very efficient. It’s not modern, so we have to either invest to upgrade this dairy or invest in something else,” said dairy farmer Dino Giacomazzi. He added that low milk prices, regulations and increased labour costs have made life very difficult for the past five years.
Last week Giacomazzi Dairy sold 2,000 cows and heifers at auction at its farm.
According to realcaliforniamilk.com the state of California is the home to more than 1,200 dairy farms of which 99% are family-owned. 46% of the milk farmed there stays within the state. Milk and milk-derived products are California’s most valuable agricultural commodity.
No doubt the Giacomazzi farm will soon be contributing to the almond plant milk industry in the not too distant future.