With California facing its fourth year of a devastating drought, and dairy operators struggling with the high cost of hay, other states are swooping in to try to lure them away. And they're not pitching generous tax incentives, but the promise of water, a stable feed supply and abundant land.
"We just feel that we're a natural fit for dairy in Nebraska, because we have the land, we have the water and the feed, and we have low electricity rates," said Willow Holoubek, executive director of the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska. "We have a couple of California dairymen building in Nebraska now. One is building and one has moved most of his herd already, and we've got several more that are thinking about it."
At the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, more than a half dozen states—Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Nevada—have booths to recruit milk producers.