By John RiederThe California Department of Food and Agriculture is planning to sell off its nearly 2,000 animal feeding operations that feed thousands of livestock in the Mendocina Hills.
The deal, expected to close this week, is expected to bring more than $3 billion in cash to California’s food system.
The farms are used by dairy, beef and chicken producers to keep their livestock on pasture or on grain, while dairy farmers use them to produce cheese, yogurt, meat and poultry.
The deal is the latest in a string of consolidation in the beef and dairy industry in California.
In 2015, the state cut its livestock herd to about 1.4 million from 2.1 million.
The state last year closed two animal feeding facilities that feed about 3 million cows, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
The sale will not affect the current operation, which was built in the 1940s and is one of the largest animal feeding systems in the world, the Department of Farm and Conservation said in a statement.
The two-story, $30 million facility in Redding, which feeds about 5,000 animals, will be shut down.
The move to sell the animals will save the state about $1 million per year.