Dino Giacomazzi is a fourth-generation dairy farmer. His 900-cow, 900-acre farm near Hanford has operated since 1893. Dino represents what it means to farm responsibly and sustainably, enhancing natural resources as part of his work.
“Ever since I started thinking about conservation as a practice, I have been seeking a reward,” Dino said. “The reward of leaving this farm for my son in better condition than my father left it for me. It isn’t as much of a desire as an obligation since my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had done that for me. Conservation farming is really the only way I know how to do it … adapt to change, preserve the land, try to make money, and move the family farm forward.”
Dino participated in one of the first conservation tillage projects in California, which has proven to enhance soil, water, and, especially, air quality in an area that typically experiences high air pollution levels. Dino credits conservation tillage for leading to higher yields with reduced costs for labor, equipment, and fuel. Building upon his experience with conservation tillage, Dino participates in research to help define the relationship between dairy farms and air and water quality.
Not content to confine these successes to his own farm, Dino is a leader in communicating about the importance of conservation and agriculture to other farmers. His communication methods are both new and traditional, utilizing social media channels, including Twitter and a variety of blogs, and hosting demonstrations and field days at his farm to connect with those inside and outside of the agricultural community. He also published a farming guide to help dairy farmers transition to conservation tillage. These outreach efforts have led to the adoption of conservation tillage on more than 25,000 California acres.
“Dino Giacomazzi exemplifies what it means to farm responsibly and sustainably, improving overall land health and reaching out to others to advocate such practices,” wrote Michael Marsh, Western United Dairymen, in his letter of recommendation. “He is the type of farmer the Leopold Conservation Award is designed to honor.”