The new year looks bright for the Texas dairy industry

The new year looks bright for the Texas dairy industry

Return to January 2024 newsletter

The new year looks bright for the Texas dairy industry

By Darren Turley
TAD Executive Director

Big things will be happening in the dairy industry in 2024.

One area that I am excited about is the possibility of returning whole and 2% milk, and hopefully flavored milks, to school cafeterias.

During the years my two daughters attended school, I watched students stop drinking milk – even in the state’s dairy region where we live in Dublin, because they didn’t like the taste of the 1% variety. That’s what the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandated be served in 2012, when it banned whole milk and 2% milk from schools in an effort to curb childhood obesity.

Not only do 2% and whole milks taste better, science shows that they have numerous beneficial nutrients and vitamins that kids need. Positively introducing milk to youth across the country will promote more milk consumption for the rest of their lives.

The U.S. House of Representatives in December overwhelmingly passed the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act. Hopefully the U.S. Senate will follow suit this year.

Also on the federal level, the dairy industry should see a significant change to the federal milk market system this year.

Federal milk market hearings are schedule to wrap up early this year with several proposed technical changes to the program that could positively impact producers’ paychecks. We will have to wait and see what changes are proposed when the reports are finalized from all the hearings.

This year the Farm Bill should be voted on, as well. It will be interesting to see if the needed increases in production limits will be implemented to allow larger farms to participate in the programs. This would allow more milk to be put in insurance programs like the Margin Protection Program for Dairy.

On the state level, the Texas Legislature will not meet in regular session in 2024, although there is always the possibility the governor could call a special session. The Texas Association of Dairymen will be watching the 2024 elections, which will include the entire 150-member Texas House of Representatives and about half of the 31-member Texas Senate. Some critical seats on the ballot will be in areas with large concentrations of dairies.

Some of the latest dairy and agriculture issues impacting Texas dairies will be discussed at the High Plains Dairy Conference, to be held March 5-6 in Amarillo. I encourage producers to attend this premier dairy informational meeting in the country. There are always great speakers and research presented that producers can apply to their operation.

Finally, as winter is underway we are getting rain which is such a blessing after the last two years of drought conditions across Texas. Let’s just hope we avoid a destructive winter storm. Planting conditions should be very good this year with soil moisture levels improving from the rain. This wet weather is crucial to grow crops and increase feed stocks for both dairy and beef cows around the state.

The Texas Association of Dairymen is ready for a dairy good year in 2024.

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