A 125 year old dairy is closing in Kings County California citing economic reasons as dairy becomes less and less profitable in a time of changing attitudes on animal rights and animal products in general.
Known as the oldest dairy west of the Rockies The Giacomazzi Dairy has auctioned off their last 2,000 cows and traded them in for almond trees.
“It’s a huge milestone, not many families last that long in one industry,” said dairy farmer Cornell Kasbergen.
“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.
It wasn’t an easy decision for the family to close up their multi generational business but the strain on the dairy industry from low milk prices, regulations and the aforementioned change in consumer demands made it a necessary one.
“Over the last 5 years, its been very difficult to make money in the dairy industry, regulations, increased cost of labor, low milk prices,” he said.
Many dairy farms are converting to more profitable crops like we featured in a recent story about Miyoko’s Creamery.
“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,” Kasbergen said.
One chapter closes and another begins for the Giacamazzi clan as the start over in their community of Hanford as almond farmers. They already have over 400 acres of almond trees with plans to expand that to 900 acres in the near future.