A wide-open future

Written by Emily Battmer

When Dairy Farmers of America announced that it would build a milk powder plant in Fallon, Nev., two years ago, Alan Perazzo knew the time was right for expansion.

Alan and his brother, David, had been milking 500 cows since 1989, the year a double-four parlor was enlarged to a double-10 herringbone. Then, the long-awaited incentive arrived.

“We just found that we haven’t had the opportunity to expand for quite a few years, and with this plant coming in, it gives us the opportunity to expand, be more efficient and produce better quality milk,” Alan says.

The Perazzos completed construction this summer of a double-30 parallel parlor. During the remainder of 2014, the herd size will grow to 1,500 cows. This is the biggest expansion in the dairy’s 60-year history and a complete transformation from the original six-cow operation started by Alan’s grandfather.

Alan says managing a larger herd will be challenging, but he expects the new barn will make dairy operations easier. The old barn was built by his father and uncle in 1972 and was designed for a 150-cow herd. Alan and his brother had made minor expansions to accommodate their growing herd, and he says the barn served them well for 42 years, but it was time for a change. The bigger barn and parlor should give Alan more time to focus on management rather than upkeep of the old facility.

“I spend a lot of time just maintaining the old barn and keeping it running,” Alan says. “Now I can put that time into managing the cows and the operation.” 

With construction of the larger barn completed, new corrals are being added this summer at the dairy. Alan, his brother and their sons have done much of the work themselves so that the expansion is more affordable.

In addition to opening a new market for members’ milk, the DFA plant has facilitated the loan process in the Fallon region.

“The bank doesn’t look at dairies too favorably unless they have a place to go with their milk,” Alan says. “Before the plant opened here, the banks really weren’t interested in loaning us money to expand because we really didn’t have a solid market for our milk. Once the plant came in, it made the bank happier, and it made it easier for us to borrow money.”

The Perazzos had been shipping their milk to California and a fluid plant in Reno, Nev. Now, Perazzo Brothers Dairy is one of 16 northern Nevada dairies supplying milk to the new plant. Alan says shipping to the Fallon plant has given Nevada dairymen security and the chance for growth.

Alan is excited to see DFA at the forefront of the global marketplace.

“Everything I’ve read about the global market is saying it’s going to continue to increase,” he says. “I’m just thrilled that DFA is tapping into that because I think that’s where the future lies.”

Al Trace, director of member services for DFA’s Western Fluid Group, has worked with the Perazzos since he moved from the Mideast Area to the Western Area three years ago. Throughout the development of the new Fallon plant, Trace’s role has been to spearhead development of the local milk supply.

For the Perazzos, Trace has played a supporting role, facilitating the expansion through the use of DFA resources. He also works with other members and nonmembers from across the country to encourage dairies to relocate to Nevada.