California-based Giacomazzi Dairy—known as the oldest operating dairy farm west of the Rocky Mountains—is exiting the dairy business after more than 125 years to focus on growing almonds. “Over the last five years, it’s been very difficult to make money in the dairy industry [with] regulations, increased cost of labor, low milk prices,” Giacomazzi Dairy owner Dino Giacomazzi told ABC. “We’ve lost probably like 500 dairy farms in the state in the last ten years,” fellow dairy farmer Cornell Kasbergen said. “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 family-owned business will transition into an almond farm with the aim of increasing its 400 acres of almond trees to 900 acres in coming years. “We’ve chosen to commit the rest of our property to growing almond trees and we’re going to sell the cows and become almond farmers.” On the other side of the country, Elmhurst Dairy—the last dairy plant to operate inside New York City limits—shuttered in 2016 to become vegan brand Elmhurst Milked that now offers a variety of nut-based milks made from cashews, walnuts, almonds, oats, hazelnuts, and more.
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