Valley counties closing in on dairy heat losses
San Joaquin Valley counties are nearing completion of their initial estimates of economic losses from the extended period of high temperatures in late July. As of today (Friday), the eight-county region has reported 19,532 cows lost to the heat for an estimated value of $46.3 million, and a loss of 9,818 calves at an estimated value of more than $3.7 million.
The 2006 milk production loss was estimated at $206.5 million and 2007 milk production losses were estimated at more than $228 million. The reporting counties are Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare. These figures are preliminary, as data is still being collected for the region.
County emergency declarations still in effect for most valley counties
Emergency declarations that allow for disposal of deadstock in landfills are still in effect as of Friday, August 18, for the counties of Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare. The emergency declaration has expired in Kern County. Because the status can change day by day, WUD members are urged to contact their local WUD field representative to determine the most up-to-date information.
Rendering plants are reporting that they are operating at capacity and most accounts are being serviced normally. However, the rendering industry is aware of the potential for future disruption if one of the rendering facilities goes offline, as happened a few weeks ago, whether or not this occurs during as period of extremely high heat.
“We will be having discussions with the rendering industry and other livestock organizations about this situation, so livestock producers can be better prepared if they lose access to rendering plants,” explained Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh. “It is obvious there is a need for more rendering facilities, but that may involve easing environmental regulations and applications for permits that could raise many issues with the environmental community. This is a tough issue that requires all of the parties to come to the table and look for some innovative and lasting solutions. WUD plans to engage in those discussions and search for answers.”
Of immediate concern is how to better notify dairy producers when a rendering facility is not available. “We have been in discussions with the rendering industry on a possible notification system so the word gets out to all livestock producers when there is a problem that takes a facility offline,” said Marsh. “We will keep working on that issue to see if a workable system can be put in place.”