Texas Seeks USDA Disaster Declaration Following Frigid Power Outages

Federal help should soon be on the way to Texas cattle producers and farmers. Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday requested a USDA disaster declaration for several counties hit hard by last week's deadly freeze.

The request comes after numerous calls about cattle dying and frozen chicken coups around the state.

One dairy co-op in particular, Select Milk Producers up in Dallas, claims it was forced to toss more than one million dollars a day in milk onto its fields.

“Cows still have to be milked two or three times a day. And you can't hold onto that milk because you only have a certain amount of storage. Once that storage capacity is reached you can't just leave it sitting around, you're going to have to dump it,” says Joe Paschal is a livestock specialist for A&M AgriLife Extension in Corpus Christi.

Paschal says production of pork, chicken and beef halted during the freeze.

“Unless those barns are heated, they can go through hypothermia just like you and I can in a cold house that doesn't have heat,” he says. “Younger animals of all livestock species are much more susceptible to cold stress, hypothermia and death.”

But he says other states have more than enough to go around.

“Most of them are agriculture producers and they have livestock, hogs and dairy cattle. Supplies will continue. It will just take a little bit of time to get those supplies to us.”

According to the USDA, Texas has the fifth largest dairy herd and is the sixth largest chicken producer.

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