Southern Counties DHIA is a non-profit member owned cooperative that was founded in 1973 when Riverside County, San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County DHIA’s merged to form one organization. The earliest records show San Bernardino County DHIA as being active in 1926. Riverside County DHIA was active in the 1950’s. Los Angeles County DHIA dates back to the 1920’s. By the early 70’s the migration of dairy farms out of Los Angeles was almost complete. At that time DHIA associations were restricted by boundaries (county lines) as to who they could provide testing service for.
The Southern region consisted of multiple counties, with Riverside and San Bernardino having the bulk of the dairy population. The area was so dense with dairy farms that they were literally across the street from one another, but in separate counties. In 1973 the Board of Directors from each county met and decided a merger was in the best interest of dairymen served by each association. Once the merger was complete the existing boards were restructured into a single board with eleven directors representing the new association.
During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Southern Counties DHIA served dairies in Southern California. Numbers peaked in the 90’s with 200 dairy farms with more than 220,000 milking cows. Herds began to leave the area in the late 80’s. By the mid 90’s the migration from Southern California was becoming more intense. The writing was on the wall. Southern California alone would not be viable to sustain the association and its infrastructure of office and laboratory.
The same situation befell San Diego DHIA in the late 80’s when they were left with too few of herds to support an association. At the request of San Diego DHIA the area was taken over by Southern Counties DHIA and the dairies were now members of that association.
In 1997 SCDHIA started testing their first herd in Kern County. They had been servicing herds as far away as the high desert town of Newberry Springs and San Diego County. The herd located in Bakersfield was their first venture into the Central Valley since the early 1980’s, when they serviced a herd in the Cuyama Valley.
As more Southern California herds relocated into the Central Valley opening a lab in that region became feasible. In 2003 a search began in earnest to find a location for this new facility. In December 2003 property was purchased in Shafter California and construction began. The laboratory opened in October 2004 analyzing 34,000 samples per day.
In March 2010 all sample processing was moved from the Chino lab to the Shafter lab. This consolidation was done to maximize efficiency of personnel and equipment. All samples collected were then shipped daily to the Shafter lab.
In January 2016 a feed lab was opened in a portion of the Shafter facility recently remodeled for that purpose. The Southern Counties DHIA Forage lab operated as an affiliate lab of Cumberland Valley Analytical Service.
The association has a seven member board of directors elected from the membership dairies. Today SCDHIA provides testing service from two locations to dairy farms across Southern and Central California. An office in Chino and office/laboratory in Shafter California allow timely service across a large geographical area.