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California’s Bosch Dairies perseveres as development approaches

Steve Pastis for Progressive Dairyman Published on 10 June 2016
Bosch family

With a total of 1,000 dairy cows and 1,000 heifers, Bosch Dairies in Ontario, California, produces condensed evaporated milk and will continue to do so at their present location… at least for now.

The family dairies were located just south of the city of Ontario, up until a few years ago when the city expanded its boundaries to include them. The dairies are now part of a city that proudly boasts about its rapidly expanding residential development.



Peter Bosch moved from Steen, Minnesota, to Artesia, California, a city in eastern Los Angeles County, where he started a dairy business in 1965. He moved the business to the Ontario area soon after.

“My dad’s family was in the dairy business,” Bud Bosch, Peter’s son, says. “When my dad was 12 years old, he was helping milk cows in a flat barn by washing the udder and drying teats before the milker went on. By 16, he was the one milking cows.”

Bud and Peter are partners in Bosch Dairy No. 1. Bud and his wife, Laura, are partners in Bosch Dairy No. 2. Their son, Brad, and his wife, Kim, also work for the family dairies and have infant twins, Brooks and Quinn, who will likely continue the family business someday. Each family dairy has about 500 dairy cows and together they have 1,000 heifers.

Meanwhile, the city of Ontario, which calls itself “one of California’s first planned communities,” has a history of developing homes on former ag land. That history extends back to when the “New Model Colony,” a 13-acre development, was built on agricultural and ranch lands purchased in 1881. This tradition of creating homes on former ag land continues.

The city’s economic development department website reports that, “The Ontario Ranch master-planned community is scheduled to be built out over about 20 years and will eventually contain eight new schools, various recreational opportunities and independent sources of water.”


Construction is currently underway less than two miles east of Bosch Dairies.

Bud accepts that housing developments will eventually be built where the family dairies are now, “but we’ve been saying that for 20 years. We probably have 10 to 15 years here; then we will have to relocate the dairy. We would like to stay here as long as we can. We like our church, and we like our friends.”

But not all the residents in the city like having dairies nearby.

“People in the housing developments complain about the flies and the smell,” Bud says. “But we were here first.”

Being part of a city should bring some benefits to a business, however, such as infrastructure.

“We don’t have any infrastructure here – roads, water or sewer,” Bud says.


“The city doesn’t fix the roads,” Kim Bosch says. “There are a lot of potholes.”

“The city says the developers are going to put in new roads anyway,” says Brad Bosch, who attended a recent Ontario City Council meeting to represent the family’s interest in stopping a proposed city project.

“They were going to put in a compost facility for food waste from the Los Angeles area,” Bud says. “That would make it a dumping ground. We’re worried about the trucks and the air quality.

“It’s a different type of pollutant (than methane gas),” he continued, adding that the potential compost pollution would harm the quality of the milk produced at the family dairies.

Brad, who said all through school, “I’m going to do dairy,” studied business administration at Providence Christian College in Pasadena, California. “I want to apply it to the (family) business. If anything happens, I want to have something to fall back on.”

And low milk prices over the past two years have created “two years in a row of red ink,” according to Bud, who added that a lot of dairies in the area have closed during that time.

Many dairies incorporate new technology into their operations to stay competitive or even just to stay in business.

“We don’t make a lot of changes here because our time is so valuable,” Bud says, noting that the only recent change the family dairies made was the purchase of a new truck to haul manure.

“It’s a big expense to get rid of it,” Laura says.

Bud estimates the cost of manure removal at Bosch Dairies to be $200 a load, with 100 loads needing to be removed every six months.

Bosch Dairies also has plans to invest in new equipment to more efficiently feed its cows. Bud expects to save $250,000 a year once the equipment is paid off, even with the need to hire another employee to operate it.

With low milk prices predicted to continue and residential development encroaching on ag land in the area, the family was asked why they persevere after so many others have given up.

“Dairy is not just a job,” Laura explains. “You’ve got to love it or you might as well get out. But there’s no better way to raise your kids than on a dairy. Dad’s around to take them to the bus stop. They work raising calves. They are taught responsibility.”

The family dairy continues to be the center of the children’s lives as they get older. When Brad proposed to Kim, he did so by writing, “Will u marry me?” in tail chalk on the side of a cow.

“When they had their engagement picture taken, they had pictures taken all around the dairy in their barn boots,” Bud says.

“That’s when we knew she was a keeper,” Laura says.  PD

Steve Pastis is a freelance writer based in Visalia, California.

PHOTO: Current family members involved in the operation include (left to right): Brad Bosch (holding son, Brooks), Kim Bosch (holding daughter, Quinn), Laura Bosch and Bud Bosch. Photo by Steve Pastis.