Progressive Dairy Operators are heading to California on their first international educational tour in several years, and they are focusing on some of the key issues the industry faces across North America. Whether it’s cost of production, consumer interests or climate change, the state with the big “C” seems to be both politically and technically at the forefront of industry trends.
Cost and access to labour is a growing concern, and five of the dairies on the tour, ranging in size from 300 to 2,800 cows, are addressing that with robotic milking. These farms include County Line, the largest single-box robot dairy in the state; Jones Dairy with both free- and guided-traffic barns; and PH Dairy, milking 2,800 cows on a robotic rotary.
Vierra Dairy, milking 5,000 Jerseys, is a model of efficiency, as well as a highly respected breeder herd that is also included in the program.
California consumers are “looking for local,” so the tour includes a farmstead cheese producer, a local dairy bottling in glass for home delivery and a regenerative organic farm to address the growing demand for a more connected marketplace.
The third focus is on green energy, reducing greenhouse gasses and reducing water use in a state where climate change is a very real and immediate issue.
The tour runs from Feb. 14-18, 2023, and will include a day at World Ag Expo (the Tulare farm show).
For details and to register by the end of November, check the PDO website.