Demand and cost for dairy products are rising. As dairy producers in the Texas Panhandle are trying to meet the demand, they’re saddled with rising inputs and other costs that cut into profitability.
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Dairy Production in Texas Panhandle seeking more processing (Drew Powell ABC7 News)

“I would say right now we are steady to strong,” said Jim Cnossen, dairy producer.

Jim Cnossen has owned and operated Cnossen Dairy in Deaf Smith County for nearly 16 years where around 11,000 dairy cows are milked twice a day. In 2020, the state of Texas had 351 dairies that produced 1.7 billion gallons of milk. Despite the large volume of milk being produced from a rapidly growing industry, there is a growing list of hurdles.

“The co-ops and milk processing companies in the area have put constraints on us because we don’t have enough processing so they set baselines for us and if we overproduce they charge us so much extra to make sure that milk is not profitable so everybody is watching their production,” said Cnossen.

Dairy producers in the Texas Panhandle who are seeking additional processing Cacique Foods is currently under construction in Randall County and is scheduled to be operational sometime in the latter part of this year.

“Competition is always good for anybody in any type of business so more avenues we have to get rid of our product is better,” said Cnossen.

Dairy Producers are not exempt from other challenges that farmers are facing when it comes to input costs.

“Our input costs have gone up it’s not that we’re any more profitable our input costs have increased 20% from a year ago,” said Cnossen.

Recent weather trends the Texas Panhandle is experiencing can have detrimental effects on the dairy cows which means dairy producers have to monitor conditions and make necessary adjustments.

“Cold winters are definitely harder on the cattle if their outside there’s a lot of cattle housed inside too it’s easier on the animal to maintain and condition that way,” said Cnossen.

To further help the dairy cows who stay outside they’re fed more energy-dense rations to keep them comfortable and increase production.

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