Years of low dairy milk prices is forcing California’s oldest dairy to end operations.
A complete dispersal auction of the Giacomazzi Dairy near Hanford, which has operated 126 years, is set for October 25.
It’s not only California’s oldest dairy still in operation, but it’s also the oldest west of the Rocky Mountains.
Operated by fourth-generation owner Dino Giacomazzi, the sale — hosted by AM Livestock Auction — includes 1,000 cows and 1,000 heifers.
Giacomazzi said that the “past 10 years have been difficult for dairying.”
Prices paid for milk in California and across the country have been low for about the past five years, often less than what it costs dairies to produce milk.
As such, “we’ve had four, straight years of losing money in the diary business, and now seems like the right time to plant more land to trees,” Giacomazzi said, referring to his family’s decision back in 2013 to plant trees on 400 acres of land, and those trees are starting to reach maturity.
“All our costs are going up, and the only way to keep dairying was to invest in a major expansion — double our size,” which the family decided not to do, he said.
With milk prices up a bit this fall for the first time in years, Giacomazzi said he figured this may be a favorable time to market his cows to get the best prices for them.