California's dairy landscape continues to shift with the continuing evolution of Southern California from a significant milk-producing region to a highly urbanized area, reports the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

While Southern California's dairy industry has been shrinking for years, the rate of dairies leaving the area is escalating. For example, over the past four years, San Bernardino and Riverside counties have recorded a net loss of 77 dairies.

During the first five months of 2005, milk production in Southern California decreased by 12.8% compared to 2004, followed by a 15% decline for the same period comparing 2004 to 2003. California's fastest-growing dairy county-Kern County, in the southern San Joaquin Valley, recorded a 20.8% upsurge in milk production between January and June 2005. Southern California now accounts for only about 10.7% of the state's milk production.