Dairies flee Chino Valley
» January 10, 2006 «
Southern California Land-Use Shift Poses Statewide Implications
In a dramatic land-use shift with implications throughout California and the West, suburban growth has pushed dairy farms out of the Chino Valley--a push that accelerated through the first years of this decade. The shift means that more milk for fast-growing Southern California will be supplied from farms outside the region, as growth and rising land values force Chino dairy farms to relocate or go out of business.
The Artesia-based dairy cooperative California Dairies Inc. says it has lost 40 percent of its Southern California milk production in the past three years. As suburban amenities replace dairies in the former Chino Agricultural Preserve, friction increases between the remaining dairies and their new neighbors. Homes overlook corrals; high school playing fields adjoin dairy calf operations; minivans and sports cars compete with cattle and feed trucks on roads that were once country lanes.
Many of the dairies that have left Southern California have relocated into the Central Valley, but the California Farm Bureau newspaper Ag Alert reports that a number have gone out of business or left the state, primarily to Idaho, New Mexico and Texas.
"Chino is representative of what's going to happen throughout California," Nathan de Boom of the Chino-based Milk Producers Council told Ag Alert. "This is a statewide issue and, sooner or later, all areas will have to face this problem. California has got to decide, at the policy level, whether it wants to maintain its agricultural roots or go even more heavily into urban development."
There are also signs that the residential and commercial real estate market in the Chino area has cooled. Ag Alert reporter Kate Campbell learned that some dairy farmers who want to sell have seen deals with developers fall out of escrow. That could leave some dairies and suburban developments as uncomfortable neighbors for longer than either party had expected.
Ag Alert, the most-read agricultural newspaper in California, is published each week by the California Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 88,000 members statewide.
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.Top