Another California exodus: Dairy cows leave for greener pastures in Texas, Arizona as farms squeezed out of B.C.
For months, the cows in this small farm in northern California have been dying. The owner, Dave Sarnicola, has tried everything—tending them to, feeding them more, adding antibiotics—but the cows are still suffering from mastitis, infection of their teats. He’s losing more than half his cows to sickness.
“I’m sick of the blood in my milk,” he told the local newspaper. “I’ve got to do something.”
And so, on Aug. 31, Sarnicola took his herd, and some 600 other dairy cows, south, to a ranch in the San Luis area of Texas, where they’d be able to breathe fresh mountain air and be near other cattle. He’d also be able to feed the cattle organic corn from his own farm, and a fresh range of pasture grass.
But Sarnicola is worried: When he arrived, he was met with a massive invasion of a species that makes beef taste different every time: Texas Longhorns.
Sarnicola said the drought has made cattle here “more aggressive” than on his northern California farm, where the animals have been given more space and are fed the same organic feed. The Texas Longhorns have chewed up the grass, making it impossible to graze.
He’s also worried about his dairy cows. Some are sick; some have problems with their udders.
And still others, he said, are simply not eating.
“It’s like they know they have to get out,” he said. “I’d consider it a blessing if they leave me in the dust and take this opportunity to do it.”
A month after the cows left their northern California home and headed for Texas, a similar migration was underway in Arizona, with hundreds more cows heading south. In the San Francisco Bay Area there’s a small herd of more than 500 cows, mostly dairy. On the farms in this part of California, Sarnicola was told that the cows are being fed corn by his wife, with no additional nutrients, because they’re