Texas milk production moving up in U.S.
By Darren Turley, executive director
Texas has done it!
For the first time Texas has ranked as the fourth largest milk producing state in the nation for the month of December. Texas has continually climbed in production over the last year, inching closer and closer to New York. It finally happened in December, when Texas overtook New York in milk production with our 7.5% growth over the 2019 December production level.
It will be interesting to see in this new year if the tiered pricing program will reduce our output back to our fifth seat or if Texas dairy farmers continue to increase production and start to chase the No. 3 state, Idaho. If Texas production continues to grow at a 7% rate, it wouldn’t take much to catch Idaho.
The tiered pricing program goes into effect this month for Texas dairy farmers, and it will probably continue for several months before milk production drops enough to disengage the program. The concern about the impact of this program on dairy farmers is obvious – consolidation. While many producers are looking for additional production allotment to allow them to sell more milk than they were originally allotted, other producers are taking advantage of the increased demand and choosing to sell their cows and production allotment while demand is high and prices are good.
Will this consolidation continue to move the concentration of dairy in Texas even more into the Panhandle area, which already has the majority of production? Dairy farms choosing to purchase a milk allotment may not need to purchase a large farm’s production; the allotment of smaller farms – which are in areas outside of the Panhandle – may be enough to satisfy their shortfall. Will this put these smaller farms out of business? Texas has 351 dairy farms now, but only time will tell how many we will have at the end of 2021.
The one thing that stands true today is that producers must sell more milk to survive. Texas producers will continue to lead the country in milk production and innovation. This is why Texas Association of Dairymen (TAD) continues to work hard to protect Texas producers. TAD has ongoing efforts at the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, Department of State Health Services, Texas Animal Health Commission and, of course, the Texas Capitol as legislators consider bills this session (you can learn more about this in this newsletter from TAD’s governmental relations team). These efforts will continue to make Texas a great place to dairy for the next advancement in production.