Texas about to become third largest dairy state – but still must import milk

Texas about to become third largest dairy state – but still must import milk

Back to March 2023 Dairy Dispatch

Texas about to become third largest dairy state – but still must import milk

By Darren Turley, TAD Executive Director

The Texas dairy industry is blossoming into the third largest dairy state, according to several recent dairy industry publications. Texas’ milk production grew by 5.9% last year, more than all the other top 10 dairy states. With continued growth of nearly 6% annually for each of several years, it has been a challenge to sell all this additional fluid milk into an already full market, but it may be the key to the future continued success of the Texas dairy industry.

Texas is home to 9% of the nation’s population and more people are moving to Texas every year. Texas is a net importer of dairy products, reports Hoard’s Dairyman. Texas produced an amazing 550 pounds of dairy products per person, but that is not quite enough to achieve the 600 pounds per person that would make our state a net dairy product exporter. But more and more people want to become Texans every day and this will continue to drive dairy consumption which drives production as well.

It’s a very different to the situation in Idaho, the state we are about to surpass to become the third largest dairy producing state. Idaho is the nation’s leader of exported dairy products, but its population is only 1.9 million (less than the three largest cities in Texas) compared to our 30 million, and this will affect their future market expansions.

With the upcoming processing plant openings, I am sure Texas will continue to expand its production in the upcoming years and become a net exporter. In the future, Texas will continue to take advantage of its position as neighbor to Mexico, the leading export market for U.S. dairy. This growing market will be key to the growth of Texas milk production.

That California, the leading dairy producing state, reduced production last year was a surprise. Production grew in the next four states, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas and New York, but fell in the following five on the milk production list, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Washington. Our neighbor New Mexico had the largest drop, declining 8.4%. Texas’ climbing milk production will fill in for some of that loss.

The continued consolidation of the dairy industry across the nation drives the ability of some states to grow production as other states’ markets shrink. States with processing plants and that are exporting dairy products will continue to see growth. This is in conjunction with dairy export sales reaching a new high of 18% of the milk produced being used for exported products. The continued growth of the dairy industry is and will continue to be connected to increased exports sales across the globe.

As you can see, Texas dairy producers are poised to grow along with our population, our exports continue to increase to Mexico and abroad, and other states look to Texas to help fill their need for dairy products.  The Texas Association of Dairymen is excited to see the future growth of our state’s dairy industry and to help the industry thrive in Texas.

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