Texas is now the third largest dairy state in the nation


Texas is now the third largest milk producing state in the nation, surpassing Idaho to take the number three spot.

Darren Turley, executive director of the Texas Association of Dairymen, noted Texas just moved into the number four position, surpassing New York, last year.

“We were the fourth largest dairy state last year on an annual basis, passing New York to reach that,” he said.

Texas has been the third-largest milk producing state for the past two months, he added.

“Both Idaho and Texas have a production control system in place, trying keep from overproducing milk for those regions until we can get new plants online,” Turley said. “That production control system has probably held Idaho back a little, so we’ve been able to surpass them.”

There are currently three cheese plants set to be built in the Texas Panhandle, creating even more demand for the growing dairy industry there.

Cacique LLC is building a plant to produce Mexican-style cheese in Amarillo, while a Leprino cheese and dairy ingredients plant should start construction in Lubbock this summer. Another plant is slated to be built in the Dumas area.

“That will create over 200 loads of additional milk sales per day in a few years,” Turley said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network.

California and Wisconsin are the two states that have larger dairy production than Texas, but it may be a while before the Lone Star State can overtake Wisconsin for the number two spot.

“That’s a pretty big jump,” Turley said. “We’ll have to get our plants in and continue to grow and see what happens.”

Milk production in Texas during the first quarter of this year totaled just over four billion pounds, up 4% from the previous quarter and 5% more than the first quarter of last year. The average number of milk cows in Texas last quarter was 634,000 head, up 17,000 from a year ago.

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