California's oldest dairy ends operations after 125 years in business

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The state's oldest dairy is ending its operations.

The Giacomazzi Dairy has been in operation for more than 125 years, but family members say they're giving up the family business to start fresh.

It's the sound of change as one chapter closes, and another begins.

"It's a huge milestone, not many families last that long in one industry," said dairy farmer Cornell Kasbergen.

The Giacomazzi Dairy, known as the oldest dairy west of the Rockies, is closing shop and selling at least 2,000 cows and heifers.

"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.

Giacomazzi held an auction on the property on Friday.

It wasn't an easy decision to end operation but he, as well as other local dairy farmers, say it's becoming more of a challenge to stay afloat in the dairy industry.

"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.

And many are turning to more profitable crops.

"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.

It's an end of an era, but Giacamazzi says they plan to stay a part of the Hanford community and start over as almond farmers.

The family already has 400 acres of almond trees, and plan to grow that to 900 acres in the future.
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