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Margo Souza joined her family’s dairy farm business in 1984 when the herd of milking cows numbered 600 head. The count is now over 1,000 milk producing cows with an equal number of replacements growing up toward their production years. The dairy has 12 employees most of which live on-site.
The operation was started by Harry Souza in 1933 when he began accumulating small parcels of adjacent land in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The farm now fills 340 acres and grows alfalfa, corn, and oats for feed. The feed grains are stored in large ground pits and are sold to the local feed mill. The recently computerized feed program keeps highly detailed and accurate records of the farm's Total Mixed Rations.
The Souza dairy operations began computerizing in 1987. The past ten years have been a constant process of increasing the use of computers to optimize production and increase the overall efficiency of the business. This trend has been as important to the business’s financial management as it has been to the farm’s operations. As milk supply and demand fluctuate, prices move up and down accordingly. By monitoring feed and other costs closely, Margo is able to track and manage the business’s performance with up to date information. It can mean the difference between profit and loss on the next wholesale contract Margo negotiates.