Myakka City's Jerry Dakin is selling his farm, Dakin Dairy Farms.
Dakin, who is 55, said he wants to pass his knowledge onto the next generation of farmers and look for a buyer who will keep the property in agriculture.
"It's an opportunity to have the next generation come in and take it and move it forward even further than I ever could,"he said. "I'll do everything in my power to keep it in agriculture. I'm passionate about it, and I love agriculture."
The deaths of his brother Farren Dakin two years ago and his brother Rodney Dakin a year ago prompted him to start thinking about his future, he said.
"I'm doing everything to make sure this (farm) is going to be here in 50 years when I'm passed and gone, that's my biggest thing," he said. "What can I do so that the community will have farming in the county?"
Dakin, a former Florida Farm Bureau Farmer of the Year, said there is tremendous opportunity for growth on the property, especially with the potential with new technology, supported ecology and advanced nutrition methods.
"There's so much technology out there that is going to be for the next generation," Dakin said. "They just have a knack for it, and I don't have that. They're passionate about it, and they're good at it."
Dakin said younger farmers are using artificial intelligence and other technology. For example, he said farmers are using automatic calf feeders while he's "old fashioned" and feeding calves in a pen by hand.
Dakin started the farm, which is located at 30771 Betts Road in Myakka City, 22 years ago with a couple hundred cows.
Now the farm includes 3,100 head of dairy cattle with a processing plant comprising of 350 acres. It has six free-stall barns, a milking parlor, production areas, commodity storage, silage storage and a milk processing plant capable of processing and packaging all milk produced on site. It will be sold as a working dairy farm.
Dakin Dairy Farms has been a staple in Manatee County, promoting community, agriculture and agro-tourism.
The farm struggled after the COVID-19 pandemic followed by the devastation of Hurriance Ian in September 2022 when the farm lost more than 200 cows and had severe damage to its cattle barns and tour barn.
Since then, Dakin said the farm has been able to clean up damages and rebuild.
"I want to thank the community for all the help and everything they did," he said. "It was a moment that showed me how much the community loves us and how much Myakka and Manatee County does for us. We're stronger than ever. It's all about how do we grow from here."
Dakin said he is not in a rush to sell the property, and Dakin Dairy Farms will remain in operation in the meantime.
He plans to remain in Myakka City and continue community outreach efforts as well as supporting agriculture once he sells the farm.
"Retirement is not in my wheelhouse," Dakin said.