For 125 years, Giacomazzi Dairy operated in Kings County, California, making it the oldest dairy farm in the state. Last week, the owners announced they are closing dairy operations for good and will instead focus on growing almonds.
According to Dino Giacomazzi, it’s become extremely difficult to make a profit by running a dairy farm and one of the reasons is that milk prices have plummeted. Could this be a result of consumers ditching dairy in favor of plant-based alternatives?
Consider this: The Dairy Farmers of America recently reported that sales nose-dived by $1.1 billion in 2018. At the same time, vegan alternatives to dairy products continue to explode. In 2017, the dairy alternatives market was worth only $11.9 billion – that’s expected to skyrocket to $34 billion in just the next few years.
Giacomazzi Is Not Alone
In April, the USDA reported that more than 2,700 dairy farms shuttered in 2018, a decline of nearly 7 percent across the United States.
This fact, along with the news about Giacomazzi Dairy, made me think of the incredible success story of Elmhurst Dairy in New York. Similar to Giacomazzi, Elhurst had been in operation for nearly a century. When sales began to decline year after year, the company had to re-evaluate its business model. In 2016, Elmhurst decided to close the dairy for good and reopen as a plant-based milk producer. Today, their sales are booming.
Good News for Cows and the Environment
Less dairy farms means less suffering for cows exploited for their milk. This year alone, multiple undercover investigations by animal rights activists have revealed the appalling cruelty these poor animals endure at the hands of the dairy industry.
In July, harrowing undercover video released by Animal Recovery Mission exposed the deplorable conditions at Natural Prairie Organic Dairy Farm – the largest organic dairy in the United States.
Some of the abuses documented in the video include cows being forced to live in overcrowded sheds filled with feces, mother cows having their newborn calves taken away from them within seconds after giving birth, cows being kicked and stabbed with screwdrivers, and downed cows being dragged by the face with tractors.
In addition to animal abuse, the UN’s IPCC report on land use released this August specifically mentioned dairy production as a major culprit with regards to its destructive greenhouse gas emissions. The UN’s research concluded that 22 percent of greenhouse gases came from agriculture – with animal agriculture being the major contributor.