Dakin Dairy Farms, one of the last dairies in Manatee County, is up for sale

Dakin Dairy Farms, one of the last dairies in Manatee County, is up for sale

MICACA CITY — One of Manatee County’s last two dairies, Dakin Dairy Farms, located at 30771 Bates Road, has gone on the market.

The 350-acre operation is listed with SVN| Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate at an undisclosed asking price.

After 22 years, the farm needs to be passed on to the next generation of farmers to realize the dairy’s full potential, owner Jerry Dakin, a former Florida Farm Bureau Farmer of the Year, said in a news release.

Dakin Dairy Farm has 3,100 head of dairy cattle with a 350-acre processing plant and is on the agricultural market for sale as a working dairy farm.

When Dakin started the dairy with a few hundred cows, he said he never imagined he could grow the farm to several thousand products produced and processed on-site and delivered to markets bearing Dakin’s “Fresh from Florida” brand.

The farm has become a destination for education and agri-tourism, complete with a farm café.

Broker Trent Saunders said his company screens potential buyers and arranges for them to visit the property before entering into negotiations.

The dairy factory is described as a ready-made, income-generating project that currently houses a herd of up to 3,000 lactating cows.

“The 350.2-acre farm has all the necessary infrastructure including six free barns, a milking parlor, production areas, a commodity store, a feed store, and a milk processing plant capable of processing and packaging all milk produced on site,” the SVN webpage said. .

“The cows have comfortable free stalls for the majority of their day, and cows and calves are usually housed dry off-site. Regular management ensures calf safety and efficient production operations, with a well-designed production area featuring excellent drainage and a perimeter dam system. This fantastic facility has Ability to expand herd size to 4,000 cows in the future with additional free pens to accommodate an additional 1,400 lactating cows.

Although the property is on the market, it is business as usual for the dairy, and Saunders said he hopes it will remain a dairy if the property is sold.

But there would be nothing to prevent a future owner from seeking rezoning to allow other types of use.

“Along with the state-of-the-art infrastructure, the land and dairy brand associated with this property hold great value. “It is a long-established, multi-generational brand, which has gained a strong reputation through participation in the “Fresh From Florida” marketing campaign and partnerships with major supermarkets and distributors. milk,” says the SVN web page.

When it opened in 2002, Dakin Dairy Farms was described as the most modern, highly computerized dairy of the eight dairies operating in Manatee County.

In addition to fresh milk, Dakin Dairy Farms also produced cheese and drinkable yogurt and opened its facility to tourism.

Dakin Dairy has faced a number of challenges in recent years, including Hurricane Ian in 2022, which inflicted more damage on the company than any other storm in history.

In January, Jerry Dakin told the Bradenton Herald that he estimated damage at $3 million, plus 360 cows lost during the storm.

The Mica community rallied with chainsaws, workers and trucks to remove storm debris.

“Gosh, I hope our government learns something from our community. The people here are amazing,” Dakin said in January.

In 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dakin Dairy Farms had to throw away 7,000 gallons of fresh milk per day.

The pandemic shutdown removed the restaurants, businesses and other schools that were the core of the Dakin Dairy market. Dairy cows still have to be milked every day, pandemic or not.

Likewise, in 2017, Hurricane Irma knocked out power to Dakin customers in South Florida, forcing the dairy company to dump milk its customers couldn’t accept due to a lack of refrigeration.

Commenting on the last two decades of work, Dakin said he feels blessed to have had the opportunity to learn and grow, citing countless “once in a lifetime” experiences that he considers gifts.

However, as the years passed, life events, including the loss of his two brothers and disasters such as the pandemic and Hurricane Ian, played a role in his plans. He said the decision to sell comes with anxiety and excitement.

“The community, the people who support the people, I love this community,” he said.

Dakin says he plans to stay in Mikaka and continue his support of local agriculture.

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