The Giacomazzi Dairy farm in California, the oldest dairy farm west of the Rocky Mountains, is closing the dairy operation and will instead focus on growing almonds.
According to owner Dino Giacomazzi, due to its age, the farm just isn’t efficient anymore and rather than modernizing the dairy, the Giacomazzis want to expand their 400 acres almond grove with a further 500 acres.
Giocamazzi explained that the whole dairy industry is suffering and their decision is not just about the cost involved in upgrading the dairy.
He told ABC, “We have to either invest to upgrade this dairy or invest in something else. Over the last 5 years, it’s been very difficult to make money in the dairy industry, [due to] regulations, increased cost of labor, low milk prices.”
Giacomazzi Dairy is not the only one, several dairy farmers are opting out of the industry. Fellow farmer Cornell Kasbergen told ABC, “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.”
The California Ag Network and Dairy Herd Management have in the past recommended that farmers diversify into growing almonds. In 2017, the CEO of the Almond Board of California, Richard Waycott, told Food Navigator that almond production is predicted to rise to 3 billion lbs by 2021.
Across the pond, in the UK, dairy farmers are also leaving the trade. According to new research, one dairy farmer exits the industry every week.
A report by independent think tank RethinkX predicts the beef and dairy industries could “totally collapse” by 2030, largely due to new technology.
Their press release said, “Instead of growing a whole cow to break it down into products, food will be built up at the molecular level to precise specifications.” Adding, “this will result in a far more distributed, localized food-production system that is more stable and resilient than the one it replaces.”
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