Hopkins County ranks fifth in Texas in dairy production

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

june 1, 2008 - Hopkins County continues to be one of the top-producing dairy counties in Texas, holding on to the number five spot through the first four months of the year.

The latest statistics also show a bit of improvement for April compared to the rest of 2008, when production has been consistently down from the same months in 2007.

The federal Milk Market Administrator's office in Carrollton calculates 124 dairy farms in Hopkins County produced 49.49 million pounds of milk in April, down 6.6 percent from April of 2007. The number of producers was also down from the 133 listed last year.

Hopkins County, however, still stands as a major producer, with the 124 operations accounting for 8.25 percent of all milk produced in Texas last month. Hopkins County also accounts for 19.3 percent of all dairy farms in the state.

The percentages aren't all that far off from a decade before. For example, in April of 1997, Hopkins County accounted for 20.99 percent of all producers in Texas and 12.68 percent of the state's total output.

The county is also still far and away the home to more farms than any other in Texas. The closest competitor in terms of producers is Erath County, with 92 dairy farms.

Erath County still holds the title of top dairy producing county in Texas, with 106.14 million pounds of milk in April, and increase of 0.36 percent from April of 2007.

Following Erath are Parmer (68.28 million pounds, 13 dairies), Deaf Smith (58.26 million pounds from 15 dairies) and Castro (49.67 million pounds, 10 dairies).

Rounding out the state's top 10 behind Hopkins County are Comanche (43.87 million pounds, 28 farms), Lamb (40.2 million, nine farms), Hartley (38.65 million, nine farms), Bailey (34.9 million, nine farms) and Hale (29.5 million, five farms) counties.

Hopkins County held the number two spot in terms of dairy production for many years, but in the past two years has been supplanted by counties with huge dairies producing larger quantities. Parmer, Deaf Smith and Castro counties, for example, have a combined 38 dairies, roughly one-third of Hopkins County's total, yet combined to produce 179.6 million pounds of milk last month, or about 3 1/2 times as much as Hopkins County.

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