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A smiling man standing in a dairy barn with his hands in his pockets.

Lone Oak Farms - Hanford, CA

Investing in a Sustainable Future

At an age when most people are still figuring out what they want to do with their lives, Alex te Velde is committed to a career in the dairy industry. 

Being only 25 years old hasn’t stopped Alex from managing Lone Oaks Farms, where he oversees day-to-day functions of the 7,000-cow dairy and 2,100-acre farming operation, all while supervising 54 employees. To some, that may seem like an overwhelming feat, but when you’ve grown up in it like Alex, it simply becomes a lifestyle. 

Alex comes from a long line of dairy farmers who immigrated from the Netherlands and began dairy farming in Southern California. When their dairy outgrew the area, they saw the opportunity to move to the Central Valley, eventually settling in Hanford, California in the 1990s. 

Since that time, they’ve grown their business to incorporate more cows, acquired more farmland, and involved the next generation of te Veldes to continue the farming tradition. 

While dairy farming poses many challenges in California, the utilization of ground-breaking technologies helps ensure a sustainable and efficient future, Alex explains. Lone Oak Farms has been an early adopter of these technologies, installing a solar facility, stationary feed mixer, and methane digester, all of which Golden State Farm Credit aided in funding.

At Lone Oak Farms, their solar facility has enabled them to significantly decrease their energy usage. The solar facility consists of three megawatts, supplying enough energy to power the entire Lone Oak Farms operation and completely taking them off the grid.

The electricity generated from their solar facility also powers their newest project; a stationary feed mixer. In doing so, Lone Oaks Farms is able to reduce the fuel needed to transport feed to their cows. 

“Instead of running three tractors and two loaders running 10 hours a day, we’re going to be able to run one tractor and one loader running 7 hours a day,” Alex says. “We think that each tractor uses between 40 and 60 gallons of diesel fuel a day, and we’re going to be essentially getting rid of two tractors and one loader, which is going to equate to about 70,000 gallons of diesel fuel savings a year.”

Similarly, the methane digester installed at Lone Oak Farms was completed in April 2021 and was a project Golden State Farm Credit was instrumental in funding. The methane digester captures methane gas, helping Lone Oak Farms minimize the emissions released into the atmosphere. In return, those emissions are put into the natural gas pipeline.

“We’ve been able to reduce our carbon footprint by capturing our emissions, and we’ve also been able to reduce our emissions on the trucking side, running our trucks on CNG and not diesel,” Alex says. 

For Golden State Farm Credit, investing in projects like these that promote environmental stewardship and ensure the longevity of farming in California, while making the jobs of farmers easier, is a win-win. 

“All the projects that we’ve done on this farm could not have been implemented without the help that we’ve gotten from Golden State,” Alex reiterates. 

As Alex continues to build upon the farming roots established by generations before him, choosing to partner with Golden State Farm Credit is an easy choice, given the loyal and positive relationship he has witnessed between his father and the bank. 

“Since I’ve come into the farm, I’ve been able to see my dad’s relationship with Golden State Farm Credit, and I’ve been able to develop my own relationship with Golden State as well,” Alex says. “Golden State Farm Credit is investing in my farm’s future.”