Ten dairy farm managers and owners representing major Middle Eastern and North African dairy producers participated in USSEC’s Dairy Team to California mission from February 10 – 18, visiting some of the state’s dairies and the World Ag Expo in Tulare.
The team flew into San Francisco and stopped at Hilmar Cheese Company to tour the cheese plant and Charles Ahlem’s Ranc, where they found herd manager Frank Dinis to be a very informative tour guide. The following day found the team touring Elkhorn and Milky Way Dairies where both dairies featured high-producing herds with excellent management. The team saw that most of the dairies are investing in renewable energy through the use of either solar farms or biogas production. One of the dairies hauling its own milk to Hilmar does so using a truck powered by biogas produced on its own farm.
The team went on to attend the World Ag Expo, meeting soy suppliers from the Midwest (AGP/Amino Plus and SoyPlus), and learning about the benefits of high bypass soy and how it can be economically and effectively incorporated in rations.
Additional dairies en route to Los Angeles included Maddox Dairy where Steve Maddox, Sr. discussed their foray into Artificial Intelligence (AI) for cow management and Perry Tjaarda Dairy in Bakersfield where Nathan Tjaarda and tour coordinator Dr. Frank Delfino discussed management practices with the team and the extensive use of agricultural by-products in the California Dairy Shed.