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At the heart of every dairy farm is family. Big or small, 99 percent of California’s dairies are still family owned and operated. These families want you to know that, while the look of the farm has changed over time, the principles and values of the families on the farm have not.

Dairy families contribute to their communities.

The California dairy sector is the nation’s largest, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the milk produced in the United States. Dairy is the leading agricultural commodity in California, making it crucial to the well-being of the fifth-largest economy in the world. Dairy families, dairy cooperatives, and dairy processors give generously to support community nutrition, health, and education. This includes a long history of donating land, food, and money, and dedicating time to serve community organizations. California dairy families give selflessly to the communities they call home.


Family values are passed down to the next generation.

For generations, dairy families have made our state their home, caring for their cows, and contributing to our economy, rural communities, and culture. Sustainability is truly a way of life on California dairy farms. It’s a value that is passed on from generation to generation. Other values preserved by dairy families include honesty, integrity, and hard work. 


“My family has been dairying for more than 100 years. It’s in our blood—the cows, the land, the water.”

– Ben Curti, Tulare, CA

Unfortunately, California continues to lose its family dairies.

Since 1950, the number of dairy farms in California has been steadily declining, dropping from nearly 20,000 to 1,331 dairies today. It is a trend that may go unnoticed as the Golden State remains the No. 1 producer of milk. However, the pattern is undeniable. In the past ten years alone, more than 500 California dairy farm families (28 percent) have either closed their operations or left the state. Substantially higher labor costs, energy costs, and regulatory requirements make it increasingly difficult for producers and processors alike. It is critical that state leaders understand exactly what we are losing. Read the March 2017 newsletter, California continues to lose dairies.

GPS guided tractor on California dairy farm
Dairy farming is a way of life for families
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Dairy Cares
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