Other states have long poached California manufacturers and jobs. Now they're coming for the cows.

Seizing on the plight of the state's dairy industry, which is beset by high feed costs and low milk prices, nearly a dozen states are courting Golden State dairy farmers. The pitch: cheaper farm land, lower taxes, fewer environmental regulations and higher prices for their milk.

At the World Ag Expo, a behemoth trade show held in Tulare County last month, nine states had recruitment booths on the ground's Dairy Center.

South Dakota sent its governor, Dennis Daugaard, to make a personal appeal for his state. Ag officials there estimate that a single dairy cow creates $15,000 worth of economic activity annually through feed, vet bills and the like. That translates into jobs and revenue for hard-pressed rural areas.

"We're trying to corral some California cows," Daugaard said recently. "We're looking for dairymen who are looking to move out of California."

Although the migration is not yet a stampede, some California dairy farmers have left for what they see as better opportunities.

For complete story, see Dairies in California consider incentives to move out of state

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