“Keep ‘em in your prayers,” asked Darren Turley, executive director of the Texas Association of Dairymen on Thursday. He was referring to the Southwest dairies suffering from Winter Storm Goliath. Four days after what is possibly the worst storm on record for cattle in the area, operations are returning to normal. The storm rolled into the Clovis, N.M., and Lubbock, Texas, region Saturday evening and was gone by Monday morning.
But the 22” inches of snow paired with wind gusts, some reaching over 60 miles per hour, was too much for many cattle, and proved impossible for some dairies to continue operating at the time. The uncharacteristic weather was to the extreme for the High Plains region.
Turley said one area farmer recalled that he was in his 34th year of dairying there, and occasionally started milking late due to weather, but never missed one. Last weekend, that farmer missed 1.5 days of milking. Turley said many farms missed one or more milkings on Sunday, with some also missing Saturday evening or Monday morning.
At some locations, the National Guard came in to shut down roads, ensuring no milk was moved from one area to another. Turley expects a small bump in price due to a lack of milk and cheese being delivered, but losses from storm deaths, lingering health issues, and future losses – potentially big as snow melts and makes for muddy conditions – will be far greater.
By: Lucas Sjostrom