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Texas to become third largest dairy state, but still imports milk.

According to several recent dairy industry publications, Texas is on its way to becoming the third-largest dairy state. Texas’ milk production increased by 5.9% last year, outpacing all other top ten dairy states. With nearly 6% annual growth for several years, it has been difficult to sell all of this additional fluid milk into an already crowded market, but it may be the key to the Texas dairy industry’s future success.
Texas has 9% of the country’s population, and more people are moving there every year. According to Hoard’s Dairyman, Texas is a net importer of dairy products. Texas produced an astounding 550 pounds of dairy products per person, but this is insufficient to achieve the 600 pounds per person required to make our state a net dairy product exporter. However, more and more people want to become Texans every day, which will continue to drive dairy consumption, which will drive production.

It’s a far cry from the situation in Idaho, which we’re about to pass to become the third-largest dairy-producing state. Idaho is the nation’s leading exporter of dairy products, but its population is only 1.9 million (less than the three largest cities in Texas) compared to our 30 million, limiting future market expansions.

With the upcoming processing plant openings, I am confident that Texas will continue to expand its production and become a net exporter in the coming years. Texas will continue to capitalise on its proximity to Mexico, the leading export market for American dairy. This expanding market will be critical to the expansion of Texas milk production.

It was surprising that California, the leading dairy-producing state, reduced production last year. Production increased in the following four states, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas, and New York, but decreased in the next five, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Washington. Our neighbour New Mexico experienced the greatest drop, falling 8.4%. Texas’ rising milk production will compensate for some of that loss.

The continued consolidation of the dairy industry across the country allows some states to increase production while other states’ markets contract. States with processing plants and exporting dairy products will see continued growth. This coincides with dairy export sales reaching a new high of 18% of total milk production used for export products. The dairy industry’s continued growth is and will remain linked to increased export sales worldwide.

As you can see, Texas dairy producers are poised to grow alongside our population, our exports to Mexico and elsewhere continue to increase, and other states look to Texas to help fill their dairy product needs. The Texas Association of Dairymen is excited to see our state’s dairy industry grow in the future and to help the industry thrive in Texas.

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