New processors much needed by expanding Texas dairy industry

New processors much needed by expanding Texas dairy industry

Return to October 2021 newsletter

New processors much needed by expanding Texas dairy industry

By Darren Turley, executive director

The Texas dairy industry received some big news recently with the announcement of Leprino Foods Company’s planned 850,000-square-foot dairy foods manufacturing plant to be built on the east side of Lubbock. The facility will sit on 258 acres and produce a million pounds of cheese daily. This much-needed processing capacity is the next step for continued dairy growth for the state of Texas.

As the largest single private capital investment in Lubbock’s history, announcement of the plant was unveiled at a press conference attended by elected officials including Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott – you can find his press release here.

Texas dairy farmers have seen dairy plant growth for the last 15 years, with Southwest Cheese opening as Panhandle production started to grow in 2006, followed two years later by Hilmar Cheese. A few years later, both expanded and were joined by Lone Star Milk Producers’ milk processing plant in Canyon and Select Milk Producers’ powder milk and butter facility in Littlefield. In June, Cacique LLC, the leading maker of Mexican-style cheeses in the U.S., broke ground on an $88 million dairy processing facility in Amarillo.

As these new facilities have opened and/or expanded, milk production in Texas has grown to meet the added processing capacity. In fact, Texas is close to becoming the fourth largest dairy producing state in the nation.

Several discussions are underway about continuing the current production control program that is in place and up for possible renewal this fall. Will dairy farmers continue to support some control on production, knowing that the Cacique plant in Amarillo is expected to open in fall 2022 followed in 2025 by the Leprino plant? These plants will enable Texas dairy output to continue to grow, reach new markets and push Texas even higher in the ranking of dairy-producing states.

The ability to produce milk has for years seemed so easy for Texas producers, who have led the nation in production growth. But behind the scenes, the process to move and deliver this growing amount of milk has been a truly staggering accomplishment by the industry. The idea that the new Leprino plant expects to process 1 million pounds of cheese per day and welcome 200 milk tankers a day to move product illustrates how large the undertaking can be to distribute all of that cheese. If the dairy industry is 3% of Texas’s gross product, as reported by the Texas Comptroller in July, then the economic impact of these new plants will extend statewide


The other big issue the Texas Association of Dairymen is watching is the Texas Legislature’s special session underway to address redistricting, or the drawing of new legislative and congressional boundaries based on the 2020 Census population shifts. The preliminary maps have been drawn and are now being debated at the Capitol. Read the report from our governmental relations team to learn more.

Dairy field day

Texas fall weather is starting to appear, and it is time for the Central Texas Dairy Field Day. This year it will be held at the Kuiper’s facility outside of Stephenville. The Kuiper’s family farm is a great facility and an example of continued acceptance of technology and management expertise in the industry. More details can be found in this newsletter.

Enjoy fall and the cooler weather and know that the cows will milk better without the heat stress – contributing even more milk for the bright future of the Texas dairy industry.

Return to October 2021 newsletter




Get the latest Texas dairy news delivered monthly to your inbox.