Texas dairy farmers share the desire of Texans – in all times, not just in drought – to protect and conserve water supplies.
Texas dairy farmers use water responsibly for both cows and crops:
- Dairy farmers work with researchers and others to develop new water conservation and quality protection technologies; upgrade irrigation systems; and modernize water storage and delivery systems.
- Water used on the farm is recycled and used multiple times. For example, water used to clean the milking parlor is reused to clean barn alleys or walkways and then to irrigate fields.
- Fertilizing crops with cow manure increases the soil’s water-holding capacity by 20 percent, requiring less groundwater for irrigation.
- In arid areas, dairies capture rainwater from their roofs and fields to irrigate crops.
Texas dairymen protect water quality:
- Dairy farms must comply with clean water laws. Farmers protect the water on and near their farms through a variety of practices to minimize potential runoff from their operations.
- In order to operate a dairy, a dairy farm must obtain a number of permits from state agencies that oversee environmental operating practices. For example, dairies are required to maintain lined waste liquid storage ponds (lagoons), undergo continuous water testing, pass regular inspections, and develop and implement a site-specific nutrient management plan that tells the farmer where and how to apply manure and wastewater to fields.