Mother Nature not slowing Texas dairy producers

Mother Nature not slowing Texas dairy producers

Return to July 2023 Dairy Dispatch

Mother Nature not slowing Texas dairy producers

By Darren Turley, TAD executive director

On the heels of National Dairy Month, we are now celebrating National Ice Cream Month. The creamy treat is perfect for these blazing hot temperatures scorching Texas. While hanging out in the air conditioning with a bowl of ice cream sounds like a great plan, the Texas dairy industry is actually quite busy.

I recently visited with college students spending part of the summer in Clovis as part of the U.S. Dairy Education & Training Consortium. The Consortium was established in 2008 to meet the educational and training needs of the rapidly expanding dairy industry in the U.S. After talking with the students, I’d say the future of dairy is in good hands.

The Texas Association of Dairymen also recently joined with the Texas Cattle Feeders Association to escort Texas Commission on Environmental Quality staff on two days of visits to Northside Dairy in Hartley, Bezner Beef, Hartley Feeders and JBS Pork. These tours give TCEQ staff a chance to see first-hand the different types of agriculture operations and better understand the permit applications processes.

Even though we’re already racking up the 100-degree days, during both these visit, the areas were as green as I have ever seen them. Rains are a blessing to both areas, but the wet conditions are now challenging the harvest of wheat and the planting of corn and sorghum silage.

This could be a record year for rainfall for portions of the Panhandle. This will hopefully lead to large silage crops to help fill the forage needs of dairy producers. Last year’s drought depleted the forage stockpiles for Texas and surrounding states. That makes these rains more crucial than ever for producers survival this year.

Here where I live in Central Texas, silage is being cut, and everywhere you look you can see hay being cut and bailed. As I write this, dark blue clouds are developing to the north. The extreme heat is helping to produce some pop-up showers in the afternoons, but they do not usually produce large or widespread amounts of rain. I remember that when I was young and hauling hay, we would pray that one of those clouds would come over and cool us off.

Mother Nature is a very unpredictable business partner. She can make or break an agriculture business each year with too much or too little rainfall. Consumers do not understand the relationship agriculture producers have with the weather.  Between extreme rain and extreme heat, Texas dairy producers are experiencing this first-hand, and they continue to adapt and work diligently to feed their cows.

Milk prices are not high enough to cover the elevated expenses that producers are dealing with this year. Even with the rains, feed cost are still very high. Input cost also continue to stay elevated, so the cost of producing a gallon of milk is not going down any time soon.

No matter how tough times are, dairy producers continue to support their local communities in local National Dairy Month and Fourth of July parades. You’ll see photos and reports from around the state in this newsletter.

July is busy with meetings after the legislative session has slowed down some, even if they are in another special session. They continue to look for an agreement on property tax relief for Texans. While this impacts the entire state, they are not considering any dairy-specific issues at this time. We are continuing to monitor, however.

Stay cool, have a great July and definitely enjoy some ice cream this month.

Return to July 2023 Dairy Dispatch



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