Sharing the good news on the Texas dairy industry

Sharing the good news on the Texas dairy industry

Return to April 2022 newsletter

Sharing the good news on the Texas dairy industry

By Darren Turley, executive director

I recently had the opportunity to educate a group of state veterinarians from around the U.S. about the size and scope of the Texas dairy industry at a meeting in the Panhandle hosted by the Institute of Infectious Animal Diseases at Texas A&M University.

The event included two days in the classroom, one learning about the state’s dairy industry and one focused on the beef industry. Those were followed by a day touring local dairy facilities and another day touring a beef operation. The group was introduced to modern large agriculture operations to better understand the issues surrounding a livestock disease outbreak or the quarantining of a facility.

The dairy classroom day included an overview of the Texas dairy industry, milking routines, calf care, animal welfare, environmental issues and regulations, and the FARM program audits on dairy farms.

The dairy tour day featured a visit to Del Rio Dairy in Friona, Lonestar Calf Ranch in Hereford and Lone Star Milk Producers’ processing plant in Canyon. The visitors from outside of Texas said this day was the most eye-opening portion of the entire program.

I enjoyed discussing with these knowledgeable veterinarians the needs of a large farm in the event of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. I always try to address the need for a dairy to maintain standard business operations for the strength of the industry. Stopping dairy commerce will be detrimental to the industry. As we saw during the large-scale shutdown of the national economy during the pandemic, once it has stopped it is very hard to fully recover.

Trying to get back to normal is what most producers are asking for in our weather. This month we have had fires, storms and all the wind you can handle. To say it is dry is an understatement.

Most of the state needs rain to plant crops, or at least enough rain to sustain the ones already in the ground. Dairy producers are very concerned about their hay and silage crops this year. The weather outlook is not predicted to change from the climbing temperatures and the strong winds.

Mother Nature may not help producers’ crops flourish, and feed costs are already on the rise.

Despite the weather there is optimism in the industry. Milk price futures are showing positive prices for most of the year. And continued interest by developers to start methane-capturing operations on Texas dairies shows belief that our dairy industry will continue to thrive.

We’re poised for some exciting years ahead in Texas as new processing plants become operational, the state continues to increase its milk output, and the digestor market matures. The Texas Association of Dairymen will continue to support this great industry through all these changes.

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