Daniel Perazzo wasn’t sure what to expect when he attended his first Young Cooperator (YC) meeting in August, but the two-day conference surpassed his expectations.
For the last two years, Al Trace, director of member services for the Western Fluid Group, has encouraged Daniel to get involved with the YC program. After attending his first meeting, Daniel says he understands why Trace was so persistent.
“It was a worthwhile experience,” Daniel says. “I really enjoyed it and learned a lot. For me, the best part was the opportunity to meet other young dairymen. It was nice to talk with my own generation.”
Daniel, a fifth-generation dairy farmer, is working his way into ownership on his father and uncle’s 460-cow dairy in Fallon, Nev. Daniel’s great-grandfather started the dairy in the 1950s, and since that time, it has become a family affair. Beyond family, the farm only employs four part-time milkers and the dairy’s herdsman.
Currently overseeing the dairy’s calf breeding and artificial insemination decisions, Daniel left the dairy after high school to perform a two-year mission for his church. Upon return, he met his wife, Hanna, and began studies at Utah State University in Logan. After graduation, Daniel and Hanna returned to Fallon to work on the dairy.
“Growing up, I used to have to drive through Fallon to get to Reno,” Hanna says. “I never liked the cow-town smell and always told my parents that I’d never marry a dairyman. But here I am, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Over the next year, Daniel and Hanna, along with his father and uncle, plan to expand the dairy’s herd to 1,000 head. After 18 months of debating whether or not to grow their herd, Daniel says their dream of expansion became a reality once Dairy Farmers of America announced construction of a new state-of-the-art dairy ingredient manufacturing facility in Fallon last spring.
Once operational, the plant, which will be located only six miles from the Perazzos’ 240-acre dairy, will be equipped to process 2 million pounds of raw milk daily, and, at full capacity, will produce approximately 250,000 pounds of whole milk and skim milk powder daily for domestic and global customers. According to Daniel, the family’s ultimate goal is to reach 1,600 head once the plant reaches full capacity.
“We were very excited to learn that DFA wanted to build in Fallon,” Daniel says. “This plant will bring stability for our market. During the winter, there are days when we can’t get milk over the valley to California due to the weather. With the plant right next door, it opens new possibilities for us, especially in terms of expansion.”
By the plant’s opening next year, Daniel says their goal is to have their new double-30 parallel parlor ready. The Perazzos are currently milking in a double-10 parallel parlor, which was remodeled in 2002. And although at least five dairies have gone under in the last 10 years around Fallon, it’s Daniel’s hope that the ingredients plant will bring positive change back to the valley.
“As the next generation to take over the farm, I am optimistic,” he says. “Not just for Fallon, but for the entire industry. I think things will turn around soon enough.”
Daniel and Hanna, along with their three daughters, Brinley, Laila and Elise, are expected to take over the family farm once Daniel’s father and uncle retire. Until then, Daniel plans learn as much as he can from his father, his uncle and his Cooperative.