Meet a Farmer: Dino Giacomazzi of Giacomazzi Dairy
Dino Giacomazzi is the fourth generation to manage Giacomazzi Dairy in Hanford, the oldest dairy in California. Since 1893, his family has been providing nutritious milk to families, while caring for the land and their community. His family’s work ethic and commitment to sustainability and giving back are values that Dino continues to exemplify through his work both on and off the dairy.
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Dino: Today on the dairy we had a herd check with the veterinarian to check on the cows and see which ones are pregnant and discuss treatment plans for the sick animals. We are also planting corn, which we use to feed our cows. This is the first year that I’ve ever had to delay planting corn because of rain.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite thing about farming?
Dino: My favorite thing about dairy farming is that I get to do my three favorite things every day. I get to help people, take care of animals, and work on computers.
CA GROWN: How do you give back to the community?
Dino: We give back in many different ways including sponsoring local sports teams. My mother and I are involved in many organizations like Farm Bureau and Western United Dairymen. My mom serves on the local symphony and historical society boards.
I’m participating in a new organization, United Dairy Families of California, which is part of a movement to unite the California dairy industry. I’m also on the board of an organization called the Plant Foundation which teaches kids science through the lens of agriculture.
Classes are taught to kids across the U.S. through video conference, iPad apps, and hands-on activities in the classroom. The program gives kids a connection to agriculture and where their food comes from using science, you can learn more at www.plantfoundation.org
CA GROWN: What drew you into the farming profession?
Dino: Even though I am the fourth generation, I left the farm for 13 years and came back by choice. I was working in software in San Francisco but I felt like the work I was doing didn’t have a lot of value and wasn’t really helping people. I felt like coming back to the dairy farm and producing healthy dairy products would be helpful and benefit people in an important way.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or pastimes when you are not farming?
Dino: I play bass guitar in a live karaoke band. It’s called Rocky Oakie, and we give people the opportunity to sing with a live band. I also like wood working, and I teach kids how to make things in our wood shop.
My two children who are 11 and 6 years old are showing their baby pygmy goats in the fair this week. We are thinking about starting a goat yoga studio here in Hanford. We have a few baby pygmy goats and are building a barn where kids can keep their project animals. There will also be a party section of the barn for events, of course.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into farming?
Dino: If I would give advice to someone getting into farming it would be to recognize that farmers are the original environmentalists and industrialists and that all human progress came from agriculture. As you move forward, you need to take care of your land so that your land can take care of you, and technology can play an important role in your sustainability.
CA GROWN: What are one or two things you do on the farm to be sustainable?
Dino: We try to do as much as we possibly can and some of our sustainability efforts have been recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In 2012, we were awarded the Leopold Conservation Award, which recognizes agricultural landowners actively committed to a land ethic. We were recognized for our conservation tillage process. We have figured out a way to grow corn and wheat in a rotation using less tractor passes in the field which reduces dust and diesel emissions and promotes healthy soils.
We more recently started in the almond business and have implemented some high-tech variable-rate irrigation systems where we are getting greater yields on trees using less water than is normally recommended.