A Texas community chokes on fecal dust from cattle feedlots | Food and Environment Reporting Network (2022)

This article is part of FERN’s series onLivestock and Rural Communities

A Texas community chokes on fecal dust from cattle feedlots

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Lawrence Brorman eases his pickup through plowed farmland in Deaf Smith County, an impossibly flat stretch of theTexas Panhandlewhere cattle outnumber people 40 to 1. The 67-year-old farmer and rancher brings the vehicle to a stop at the field’s southern edge. Just across the fence line, Brorman eyes a mess of cattle standing sentinel upon a mound of dirt and compacted manure. They peer back at him, chewing cud, mooing, and, of course, pooping.

Though Brorman grazes 80 or so cattle on his land in Hereford, Deaf Smith’s county seat, the animals he’s currently staring down aren’t his. They’re held by Southwest Feedyard, one of the oldest cattle feedlots in the county. This place holds 45,000 head of cattle in bare-dirt pens for months at a time, fattening the animals on flaked corn before sending them to slaughter. It’s part of a vast constellation of feeding operations that dot the western Panhandle, which accounts for one-fifth of the entire U.S. beef supply. If you’ve ever eaten a hamburger, there’s a good chance the meat came from here.

Brorman rolls down the driver’s side window, and a rank odor wafts in from the Southwest feedlot. While good fences make good neighbors, they do nothing to stop the wind from sweeping up tiny fragments of dried manure from the feedlot surface and spreading them across Brorman’s farm. Some summer days, especially during droughts, the particles—which scientists call “fecal dust”—form dense plumes that blot out the sun. When the wind is high, a wall of dust churns through the town of 15,000, coating homes and businesses and limiting visibility on U.S. Highway 60 so severely that motorists must switch on their headlights well before sunset.

“You go outside and it’ll just burn your nose and your eyes,” Brorman says. The dust brings foul odors so pervasive that they can penetrate the Brormans’ farmhouse even when the doors and windows are closed. Lawrence and his wife, Jaime, use a more explicit term for the fecal dust: “shust,” a portmanteau of “shit” and “dust.” (Other folks who live here are partial to “shog,” a mashup of the same first word and “fog.”)

A Texas community chokes on fecal dust from cattle feedlots | Food and Environment Reporting Network (1)

Whatever it’s called, the dust and odor are a consistent problem for the Brormans, who have submitted formal complaints to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), a state regulatory agency. From 2008 to 2017, at least 100 complaints about fecal dust and odor from feedlots have been registered with the agency, according to data obtained through an open records request. The comments reveal a problem potentially far graver than the smell.

“Each evening, around dark, a huge cloud of feedyard dust blankets the entire community. The cloud is so thick at times it is difficult to breathe,” a complaint from Oldham County reads. Another, from Hartley County, reported: “In the morning the air is full of a nasty smell and a brown haze of dust southwest of town. When the wind picks up, it blows across town and looks like smoke from a fire. When the air is still, the haze looms over town. It is causing major problems with my breathing and my children cough and sneeze all the time.”

The Texas Observer, in collaboration with theFood & Environment Reporting Networkand theMidwest Center for Investigative Reporting, spent four months investigating how fecal dust affects Texans and howTCEQdoes little to stop it. Though the agency typically sends investigators to the site of a complaint, it appears the feed yards are mostly allowed to keep dusting their neighbors. The agency performs only perfunctory investigations of the complaints: From 2014 to November 2019, TCEQ took no enforcement action against large beef feedlots in the Panhandle. The agency levied no fines and issued no warnings, its own records show.

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The health risks associated with breathing ammonia and particulate matter—both of which are byproducts of cow manure—are significant and well-documented. Ammonia is a key contributor to regional haze and can cause coughing and difficulty breathing; particulate matter is one of six major pollutants regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency—the tiny fragments can penetrate deep into the lungs and even the bloodstream. Exposure to particulate matter can cause asthma, an irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Hydrogen sulfide, which can impair a person’s respiratory and nervous systems, can also form as manure decomposes. A sizable body of research indicates that living in close proximity to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), including feedlots, can cause or exacerbate health problems.

“These are all well-known, well-understood pollutants,” says Dr. Anne Epstein, a physician who previously chaired the Lubbock Board of Health. “The health effects combine to give you shortened life expectancy, and that’s pretty dramatic.”

Now, the Brormans expect their farm to get a whole lot dustier—a new cattle feedlot is slated to be built right across the road from their home. TCEQ, which authorizes CAFO permits, is expected to approve plans for the 50,000-head facility.

Jaime is already frequently sick. When the dust is high, she has asthma attacks. Jaime uses an inhaler and is prescribed antibiotics for most of the year due to recurrent respiratory infections. Depending on the dust levels, her health is “up and down. I don’t go outside much,” she says. When she brought up the issue with her doctor, his advice was to “get out of Hereford,” she recalls. Then, the doctor said, “Well, I guess your husband won’t move the farm, huh?”

In the Panhandle, people living in feedlot hot spots experience some of the highest levels of asthma in the state, an analysis of American Lung Association data shows. Deaf Smith County has the 11th-highest rate of pediatric asthma among Texas’ 254 counties. Gaines, Yoakum, Ochiltree, Dallam, and Moore counties, all along the West Texas and Panhandle cattle feedlot corridor, ranked even higher.

A Texas community chokes on fecal dust from cattle feedlots | Food and Environment Reporting Network (2)

A 2009studypublished by Oxford University Press found that doubling livestock production is correlated with a 7.4 percent increase in infant mortality due to respiratory disease. Anotherstudy, published in 2006, found that children living near CAFOs were at greater risk for asthma. “CAFOs are an excellent example of how environmental problems can directly impact human and community well-being,” the National Association of Local Boards of Healthwrotein 2010.

Despite this, the Texas Department of State Health Services does no monitoring or testing to determine whether living near feedlots or other CAFOs in the Panhandle compromises human health. TCEQ operates a network of air quality monitors around the state, but the agency hasn’t placed one in Hereford or other small towns where fecal dust pollution is most pronounced.

That afternoon on his farm, Lawrence gets back in his truck and drives west to another of his fields, where the vicious Panhandle wind has reduced a quarter-mile-long irrigation sprinkler to a heap of twisted metal. The fecal dust rises in the air as he ponders how to salvage the $50,000 piece of equipment. Lawrence says he hates to be outside when the dust starts blowing, but there’s a lot of work to be done. “If you’ve got to work on your sprinklers or something, you’ve just got to work in it,” he says. “You get on a four-wheeler and ride down the road and you’re riding right through it. Then it’s on everything.”

Tonight, when he’s done with chores, he’ll disrobe in the garage, careful not to wear the manure-laced clothes in the house. When he showers, “the first thing you smell is crap. Whenever that water hits your skin and your hair and you’ve got that manure all over you, it just smells like manure in there for a second,” he says.

Jaime and Lawrence say the dust and odor from nearby feedlots have increasingly driven them to take shelter inside their farmhouse, which now serves as much as a bunker as it does a home. Half-jokingly, they’ve started referring to themselves as “the mole people.”

They have no ideological objection to raising cattle in feedlots. The Brormans raise livestock themselves, and they enjoy eating beef. “We’re just against feed yards that can’t take care of their dust or their smell,” Jaime says. “It should stop at their fence line.”

*

The cattle feeding industry, at least in its current form, is a relatively new invention in Texas agriculture. Historically, cattle spent little time in such close confinement, only being penned shortly after shipment to markets in Fort Worth and elsewhere. Around 1900, a Brownwood rancher discovered that cattle kept in pens adjacent to farmland would eat cottonseed that had already been pressed for its oil—a waste product cotton farmers had previously dumped in nearby ravines. It was more or less a cottage industry until the end of World War II, when the feedlot craze started sweeping the state, says David Brauer, a U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist who conducts research at an experimental feedlot near Amarillo. In 1955, a Big Spring rancher made a deal with Dallas oil magnate Clint Murchison Sr. to build a 30,000-head feed yard, creating what was then the biggest West Texas feeding operation and ushering in a new era of American agriculture.

Feedlots limit the animals’ movement while maximizing their nutrient intake. Cattle put on weight quickly and efficiently in such environments; it takes a mere six months for calves to balloon from 500 to 1,300 pounds when all they do is sit, eat, and create manure. Brauer says feedlots aren’t necessary to produce beef—free-range cattle can also pack on weight simply by grazing grass or other forages such as winter wheat. But in the Panhandle, scant rainfall means grass grows much more slowly than in other parts of the state. Here, it can take 2,000 acres just to graze 200 head of cattle.

During the 1960s and ’70s, big feedlot operators began migrating north to the Panhandle because of good weather and ample groundwater, most of which comes from theOgallala Aquifer, which spans eight states and is one of North America’s most depleted groundwater sources. In the Panhandle, feedlot cattle can suck up 8.5 million gallons of groundwater every day. Today, nearly 90 percent of Texas’ 2.5 million feedlot cattle are raised in just 10 Panhandle counties radiating out from Amarillo. Five Rivers, the world’s biggest cattle feeder, has set up shop here, along with Cargill and Cactus Feeders, which owns 11 area feedlots, including the one south of the Brorman home.

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A Texas community chokes on fecal dust from cattle feedlots | Food and Environment Reporting Network (4)

If the western Panhandle is the capital of cattle country, Hereford is its statehouse. Sprawling feed yards line the main thoroughfare, U.S. Highway 60, briefly interrupted bycarniceríasand steakhouses. A hulking bovine statue at the town’s western edge greets visitors with the message “Beef Capital of the World.” The high school football team is named the Whitefaces, an allusion to the distinctive look of the town’s namesake Hereford cattle breed. Fecal dust storms are just part of life. As for the odor, well, people here say that’s just “the smell of money.” The herds are getting bigger, too. According to USDA data, Deaf Smith County claimed 713,000 head of cattle on feed in 2017, a 6 percent increase from five years before.

All those animals create a staggering amount of waste. One large beef CAFO can produce 1.1 million tons of manure a year. That means a single large feeding operation can produce 80 percent as much waste as the state of Texas’ entire human population. Feedlot managers try to offload as much of the manure as they can to area farmers, who use it as fertilizer. But with so much waste being produced in a small area, inevitably much of it sits in place, left to dry in the sun and be stomped into dust by hooves until a strong wind disperses it.

In 2000,Consumer Reportsinvestigatedthe effects of feedlot dust on people in the region. In Hale Center, about an hour southeast of Hereford, residents complained of the irritating dust that sometimes drove them from their homes. One resident told of “watery, burning eyes, the nose drainage and the burning of the throat.” Another said that “the dust is so bad we have to leave the house for a while.” In Hansford County, at the top of the Panhandle, a 2-year-old who had inhaled fecal dust was rushed by helicopter to a hospital in Amarillo. David Bergin, the boy’s father, fought against the expansion of a feedlot near his home in 1995; he eventually filed a lawsuit against the company, which settled out of court.

“People all pretty much said the same thing. Plumes of dust. It stank. People reported they’d gotten ill,” says Reggie James, who co-wrote the report and later was president of the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter. “I’m guessing things have not changed much.”

In the early 2000s, the Brormans joined environmental advocates, residents, and others to try to solve their own shust problem by creating a task force to evaluate the issue and look for solutions. Feedlot operators were invited to meetings, and some attended. But when the group made suggestions that could affect cattle feeders’ bottom lines—such as more-intensive pen-scraping to remove excess manure or installing sprinklers to control dust—the feedlot operators balked. One of them left after a meeting or two, sending Jaime a letter demanding she tell no one he had attended at all, she remembers.

As the months passed, support for the group continued to dwindle. KPAN, the local radio station, distanced itself from the effort after the Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA), a trade group claiming 4,000 members, boycotted the station. Though the industry didn’t spend much on advertising, the conflict created political friction for station operators. Bob Josserand, Hereford’s mayor at the time, was one of the biggest cattle feeders in town. A local U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who was initially gung-ho about the initiative told Jaime he’d lose his job if he continued attending meetings. The nursing department at West Texas A&M University in Canyon expressed interest in conducting a public health survey but stood down after university officials conveyed concern, Jaime says. The current head of the university’s nursing department said he wasn’t at the college at that time.

“We just kept running into a wall,” Lawrence says. “Everybody else had to back away, and pretty soon it was just Jaime by herself.” The Brormans and others who participated in the group say they suspect the TCFA torpedoed the project. In a phone call with theObserver, TCFA Vice President Ben Weinheimer said he doesn’t recall the situation.

A Texas community chokes on fecal dust from cattle feedlots | Food and Environment Reporting Network (6)

In Hereford, TCFA is viewed as being powerful, politically connected, and aggressive in defending its interests. The organization’s members claim 6 million head of cattle in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Their inventory accounts for 28 percent of the nation’s beef supply. TCFA donates handsomely to political campaigns—with lobbyists in Austin and Washington, D.C.—and sponsors academic research. The group isn’t afraid to flex its considerable muscle: In 2016, after two Texas Tech scientists found that dust blown from feedlots contained antibiotic-resistant bacteria, TCFA allegedly went on the warpath against the scientists, first by urging them not to discuss the research and then by trying to get them fired,Texas Monthlyreported. In one notoriouscase, the organization sued Oprah Winfrey in 1998 after she said on her TV show that she would never eat another hamburger.

Some folks interviewed for this story had grievances against the industry but wouldn’t speak on the record for fear of retribution. “Is it worth the pain in our lives to go to battle against the cattle industry?” one resident says. The Brormans say they aren’t too worried what the industry thinks of them. They’ve been pretty vocal about their displeasure with the dust storms, after all. But, they say, “We still have to live here.”

A Hereford resident who asked to remain anonymous says that fecal dust would collect on the roof of his former home. After infrequent rains, the dust washed into his gutters and rehydrated into a gloop of manure, breeding maggots. Fed up with the situation, he mailed a letter in the mid-2000s to then-Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs. He included in the envelope a sample from his gutters. Combs’ office sent a response, but instead of pledging to use her regulatory agency to look into the problem, she said she’d ask the industry to look into the issue itself. Nothing ever happened, he says.

Texas has made it difficult for residents to find remedies through the courts. Cattle feedlots, along with poultry and pork megafarms, are protected by a “right to farm” law, which shields them from legal action that might be taken against them by neighbors. Ostensibly enacted to protect family farmers from urban sprawl, the laws instead disenfranchise rural people in favor of big agribusiness, opponents say. “It pretty much eliminated a person’s right to make nuisance claims,” says James, the former Sierra Club director. Some ag-friendly states such as Kansas and Iowa have loosened their right-to-farm laws over the years, but no such movement has been made in Texas.

Weinheimer, the TCFA vice president, says his organization takes air and water pollution seriously. TCFA distributes a so-called Pollution Prevention Plan, which gives tips on reducing dust, he says. TheObserverrequested a copy of the plan, but the group did not provide one. Weinheimer says he hasn’t seen evidence that feedlot dust can affect respiratory health. “We’ve been working with feedyards on environmental issues for three-plus decades, maybe even longer than that, and we haven’t had any concerns raised by people in terms of respiratory issues caused by feedyards,” he says.

Carmen Fenton, a TCFA spokesperson, implied that concerned residents might be confusing feedlot dust for normal, everyday dust whipped up by the Panhandle wind. “Yes, there’s feedyard dust, but there’s dust in this part of the world in general,” she says. It’s not normal dust, however, that forces Jaime Brorman to hide inside her home for fear of having another asthma attack. It’s not normal dust that makes Lawrence retch when he gets in the shower after a day of work. This is not a normal way to live, they say.

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*

Life for the Brormans and their neighbors may get worse before it gets better. In July, the local newspaper published a notice that a company had applied to open a new feedlot less than a mile east of their home. The permit application was filed by V&T Land and Cattle LLC to feed 50,000 head adjacent to an existing feedlot that’s been a constant headache for the Brormans and their neighbors. That feedlot, Lone Star Calf Ranch, already has the capacity for 105,000 cattle, dwarfing most other feedlots in the county. It’s been subject to criticism over foul odors, proliferating flies, swirling fecal dust, manure fires that smoke for months on end, and dumped animal waste in aquifer watersheds.

After they saw the notice, residents wrote to TCEQ, urging the agency to deny the permit. “The cattle will create a huge increase in the amount of fecal dust, odor, manure, and flies,” Lawrence wrote. Chris Grotegut, a veterinarian whose property would be only a half-mile from the proposed operation, expressed concern about increased pollution in the area. “Please do not let them destroy our neighborhood anymore,” he wrote. Tamara Mimms, whose property would border the operation, sent a comment mentioning how the stench of massive manure fires has permeated her home.

A Texas community chokes on fecal dust from cattle feedlots | Food and Environment Reporting Network (7)

The neighbors view the proposed feed yard as an extension of Lone Star Calf Ranch, though that isn’t precisely true, since the permit was applied for by a different company. But Jake Tuls, who owns a majority stake in the Lone Star operation, is also an investor in the new feedlot, he told theObserver. And the application for the V&T project indicates that the land for the feed yard was originally permitted to Lone Star Calf Ranch. The Brormans, along with Grotegut and the Mimms, say the connection, whether direct or indirect, is important to consider—Lone Star has a history of running afoul of environmental rules.

Last year, residents reported to TCEQ that the company had dumped mountains of manure into a playa lake northeast of town. Not only are playas important overwintering grounds for migratory birds, they also serve as small recharge zones for the Ogallala Aquifer. TCEQ referred the case to the Deaf Smith County District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution. The office never brought charges.

Tuls says that he had no idea the manure was dumped in the playa; he sold it to a farmer, and after the manure left his property, Tuls didn’t follow what happened to it. He did pay $50,000 to clean up the mess, though, he says. He chalks up complaints about flies, fecal dust, and manure fires to neighbors’ being “misinformed.”

Both TCFA and residents say that feedlots can cut down on dust if workers scrape dried manure from their cattle pens more regularly. But Tuls is skeptical that doing so will make him any more popular in the neighborhood. “If you can do a good job of scraping your corrals, it doesn’t change anything about the 50-mile-an-hour wind,” Tuls says of the dust generated by his business. “I don’t know why everybody’s picking on me.”

Tuls says he originally operated in California but felt squeezed by environmental regulations there. So he moved his business to Texas, which he describes as “ag-friendly.” He has a point: TCEQ does not consider fecal dust when determining a polluter’s “emissions inventory.” If feedlot dust was taken into account, many feedlots would be classified as major polluters. They would be regulated more strictly and could also be required to pay a per-head charge because of it.

The Brormans and their neighbors requested that TCEQ hold what’s called a “contested hearing” so members of the public could air their concerns on the V&T Land and Cattle permit. Their requests were denied. A TCEQ spokesperson says the agency is moving forward with approving the permit. When asked why the agency didn’t hold a hearing, especially considering the serious nature of residents’ concerns, the spokesperson said TCEQ doesn’t hold hearings for what’s termed a “general permit authorization.” Almost all CAFO permits fall under this category.

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Even without a new CAFO in the neighborhood, climate change will likely exacerbate the conditions that lead to fecal dust storms in this part of the Panhandle. Summer high temperatures in Amarillo are expected to rise 4.6 degrees by 2050. Rainfall events will be extended, but so will droughts; in the early 2000s, when Jaime formed her activist group, the Panhandle was drought-stricken. Complaints about fecal dust ticked up in 2011, during the worst single-year drought ever recorded in Texas.

The Brormans frequently think about moving to town now, though they say they’d miss their little slice of the country, dust or not. They’re used to living out in the sticks—having neighbors would feel strange—but Jaime’s health may give them no other option. They’ve asked around about selling their property before, but they wonder who in their right mind would buy the place once they find out about the dust problem.

Eventually, they say, they may be faced with a crappy proposition: giving up and selling their land to the feed yards.

This story was produced in collaboration with The Texas Observer and Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. This article may not be reproduced without express permission from FERN. If you are interested in republishing or reposting this article, please contact info@thefern.org.

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FAQs

What is the smell in Dalhart TX? ›

In Dalhart, the stench of cattle has become the sweet fragrance of Ode a l'manure.

How many feedlots are in Texas? ›

Today, nearly 90 percent of Texas' 2.5 million feedlot cattle are raised in just 10 Panhandle counties radiating out from Amarillo. Five Rivers, the world's biggest cattle feeder, has set up shop here, along with Cargill and Cactus Feeders, which owns 11 area feedlots, including the one south of the Brorman home.

How is dust controlled in feedlots? ›

The most common and effective method of dust control is application of water to the feedlot surface. In California research, properly sprinkled feedlots generated up to 18 times less dust than untreated lots. Dust levels rose more than 850 percent whenever water treatment was discontinued for 7 days.

What are the environmental effects of feedlots? ›

One environmental downside of feedlots is that the way they concentrate and store manure often leads to high levels of local air and water pollution. In addition, runoff of nitrogen-rich manure into waterways can contribute to "dead zones" in coastal areas.

What is the biggest feedlot in Texas? ›

Key points
  • Cactus Feeders is the largest feedlot operator in Texas.
  • The Wrangler Feed Yard is a central part of Cactus Feeders operations.
  • Cattle come to Cactus Feeders from all states of the U.S.A.
  • Visitors can see operations at Wrangler Feed Yard for themselves.
19 Feb 2021

What is Dalhart Texas famous for? ›

Since 1936 Dalhart has been the home of the XIT Ranch Reunion and Rodeo, held in August. It was the XIT Reunion Association that built the landmark Empty Saddles monument and later established the XIT Museum. Another community event is the annual Railroad Week.

What is the biggest feedlot in America? ›

Share: With more than 900,000-head across eleven US locations, Five Rivers Cattle, LLC. is the world's largest cattle feeder. Kersey, Colorado is home to the Kuner Feedlot, which currently houses up to 100,000-head on the 400 acre feedyard area.

What city in Texas has the most cattle? ›

Houston Area

Obviously we list this as #1 since this is where WE are from! Our home county of Wharton County, which is about 60 miles southwest of Houston, is Brahman Country. If you are in the Houston area, Brahman cattle are a great fit.

Is Texas the beef capital of the world? ›

It is 48 miles southwest of Amarillo.
...
Hereford, Texas
Motto(s): Beef Capital of the World; The Town Without a Toothache; Most Conservative Town in America
Location of Hereford, Texas
Coordinates: 34°49′19″N 102°23′55″W
CountryUnited States of America
21 more rows

What is an open feedlot? ›

Environmental Protection > Animal Feeding Operations > Open Feedlots. Iowa's open feedlots are places where animals are kept in unroofed or partially roofed areas. To be considered an open feedlot, animals are fed and maintained in pens for at least 45 days in a one-year period.

What is the purpose of providing mounds in feedlot pens? ›

Mounds to Reduce Mud Problems

Mounds constructed of soil material within feedpens pro- vide a comfortable resting place for cattle at reasonable cost during prolonged wet periods. Mounds are an eco- nomical alternative to bedding, concrete lots or confine- ment buildings.

What is an advantage of synchronizing a cow herd? ›

Synchronizing estrus in your beef herd can shorten your calving season, produce more uniform calf weights, and last but not least, provide the opportunity to use proven genetics through artificial insemination (AI).

What are two environmental problems that result from finishing cattle in a large feedlot? ›

Feedlots concentrate animal waste and other hazardous substances that can pollute the air and the water with their runoff. Finishing cattle in this way also consumes huge amounts of grain and water.

What are some issues with feedlots? ›

Indoor feedlots, where animals are fully housed in sheds, present a stressful environment for sheep and some serious welfare issues including insufficient space, inadequate flooring, and no opportunity for sheep to graze, exercise, or rest comfortably.

What are the benefits of feedlots? ›

Benefits of Well-Managed Feedlots: Well-managed feedlots ensure high animal welfare through a herd health plan requiring proper nutrition, prompt resolution of health issues, low-stress handling, proper sanitation, record keeping, and overall good animal husbandry.

Is there more cattle in Florida than Texas? ›

Texas has the most beef cows, followed by Oklahoma, Missouri, and Nebraska.
...
Beef Production by State 2022.
StateNumber of Cows
Kentucky983,000
North Dakota975,000
Florida929,000
Arkansas925,000
46 more rows

How many cattle are in the Texas Panhandle? ›

The majority–88 percent–of Texas' total cattle and calves on feed are in the Panhandle. That's about 2.35 million head of cattle, which is five percent higher than this time last year.

How do feedlots work? ›

The basic principle of the feedlot is to increase the amount of fat gained by each animal as quickly as possible; if animals are kept in confined quarters rather than being allowed to range freely over grassland, they will gain weight more quickly and efficiently with the added benefit of economies of scale.

What do they farm in Dalhart Texas? ›

Economy. Dalhart's economy is centered around agribusiness, including farming, ranching, feedlot operations, large-scale pig farms, and more recently, a cheese processing plant.

What is grown in Dalhart? ›

A Growing Community

Cattle is still king in Dalhart, with several Cattle Feeding Operations making their way to the area in the 1970's. This helped spur the growth of corn, wheat, milo, alfalfa and other crops to be produced in the area.

How big is Dalhart Texas? ›

Where is the biggest cattle farm in the United States? ›

King Ranch, largest ranch in the United States, composed of a group of four tracts of land in southeastern Texas, totaling approximately 825,000 acres (333,800 hectares). The King Ranch was established by Richard King, a steamboat captain born in 1825 in Orange county, New York.

Where is the largest feeder cattle market in the world? ›

Located within historic Stockyards City, the Oklahoma National Stockyards is the largest stocker/feeder cattle market in the world.

What is the largest feedlot in the world? ›

Five Rivers Cattle Feeding of Greeley is the world's largest feedlot operation, with feeding capacity for more than 920,000 head of cattle.

Who owns the largest ranch in Texas? ›

  • King Ranch Heirs | 911,215 acres. ...
  • Briscoe Family | 640,000 acres. ...
  • O'Connor Ranch Heirs | 580,000 acres. ...
  • Stan Kroenke | 510,527 acres. ...
  • Jeff Bezos | 400,000 acres (up 110,000 acres) ...
  • Hughes Family | 390,000 acres. ...
  • Malone Mitchell 3rd | 384,000 acres. ...
  • Nunley Brothers | 301,500 acres.
10 May 2017

Which state has the best meat? ›

Fort Worth, Texas

Texas is the Argentina of the United States. Not only for its pride and passion, but also because it's the top beef producing state in the union, which explains the appearance of two cities from the state on our list.

Where are the most cowboys in Texas? ›

Bandera, Texas, a rural town nestled in the rolling hills of Texas Hill Country, is the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” a nod to its geographic importance in the last big cattle drives of the 19th Century.

What state eats the most steak? ›

In the ranching state of Montana, residents consume more red meat than anywhere else in the country, with the average resident saying they dine on steaks and burgers more than three to four days a week, almost five to six days.

What is the best cow for beef? ›

Breed. Angus is currently the most popular among North American ranchers. This is partly due to economics—Angus cattle mature quickly and put on weight well—but also because Angus beef is reliably marbled and tender.

How long do cattle stay in feedlots? ›

Cattle normally remain in a feedlot for about three to four months or until they reach a weight at or above 1,200 pounds. When they reach this weight they are then transported to the packing plant to be slaughtered and distributed.

How long do you raise a cow before slaughter? ›

Cattle raised for beef will typically be slaughtered by the time they reach 2-3 years old. Some have advocated a switch to slaughtering cows for meat at an older age.

How do feedlots make money? ›

When the cattle are marketed, the feedlot will deduct charges for feed, financing, yardage and other items immediately. You then will be forwarded a check for the proceeds, provided the cattle made enough money to cover all the costs.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of feedlots? ›

When cattle are housed on feedlots, workers, managers, and/or farmers may monitor animals more closely. Disadvantage of feedlots is that cattle stand in small, crowded areas in their own feces and urine all the time. Another big concern and/or disadvantage of CAFO's is E. coli contamination.

Which disease of cattle can be prevented by vaccination? ›

Currently, the most commonly used clostridial vaccination in cattle is the 7-way type, which protects against Clostridium chauveoi (blackleg), Clostridium septicum, Clostridium sordelli (malignant edema), Clostridium novyi (black disease), and three types of Clostridium perfringens (enterotoxemia). Coronavirus.

Why do cows like to stand on hills? ›

They stand perpendicularly to the sun's rays in the cool morning to absorb heat through their large flanks, or they stand in the direction of strong winds to avoid being unduly buffeted and chilled.

How many cows can a bull service in a day? ›

that a mature bull can service 25 to 35 cows; however it has been shown that highly fertile bulls can service up to 50 cows.

What's the difference between a cow and a heifer? ›

A heifer is a female that has not had any offspring. The term usually refers to immature females; after giving birth to her first calf, however, a heifer becomes a cow. An adult male is known as a bull.

How long is a cow in standing heat? ›

Standing heat typically lasts for about 12 -18 hours, but some cows may stand as short as four hours or as long as 24 hours.

What are four pollutants of concern that are derived from the manure and wastewater produced in concentrated animal feeding operations? ›

The most typical pollutants found in air surrounding CAFOs are ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, and particulate matter, all of which have varying human health risks.

Why are CAFOs widely used and what are the major environmental problems associated with them? ›

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are widely used because they lower costs. More animals can be raised in less space, and thus the output is maximized while costs are lowered. In terms of environmental problems, CAFOs produce a lot of animal waste that needs to be handled properly.

How is dust controlled in feedlots? ›

The most common and effective method of dust control is application of water to the feedlot surface. In California research, properly sprinkled feedlots generated up to 18 times less dust than untreated lots. Dust levels rose more than 850 percent whenever water treatment was discontinued for 7 days.

What are the top environmental concerns for a large feedlot operation? ›

The primary environmental risk from improper closure of feedlots is seepage of nitrate nitrogen to ground water. This can occur from open lots or from manure-storage facilities that have not been emptied.

What are the negative environmental impacts of feedlots? ›

Runoff of feedlot waste into water streams can be detrimental to fish and other aquatic life and can cause “dead zones” in coastal areas. Feedlots also cause air pollution due to ammonia, particulate matter, odour, greenhouse gases, and volatile organic compounds emissions.

How are feedlots bad for the environment? ›

One environmental downside of feedlots is that the way they concentrate and store manure often leads to high levels of local air and water pollution. In addition, runoff of nitrogen-rich manure into waterways can contribute to "dead zones" in coastal areas.

Are feedlots good or bad? ›

Feedlots concentrate animal waste and other hazardous substances that can pollute the air and the water with their runoff. Finishing cattle in this way also consumes huge amounts of grain and water. The industry is regulated and says it follows environmental safety standards.

Are feedlots illegal? ›

The government, specifically the Bureau of Land Management, allows ranchers to graze cattle on public lands under the Taylor Grazing Act. From the range the cattle go to feedlots where they receive food designed to fatten them in a short time despite numerous health problems that the food often causes.

How many acres do you need for a feedlot? ›

Approximately 1 acre of land is required per 100 head of cattle for pen space, alleys and feed roads and 1/4 to 1 acre of land per 100 head of cattle is required for the waste control facility, depending on the type of system. All extraneous runoff needs to be diverted away from the feedlots and roads.

What do they grow in Dalhart TX? ›

A Growing Community

Cattle is still king in Dalhart, with several Cattle Feeding Operations making their way to the area in the 1970's. This helped spur the growth of corn, wheat, milo, alfalfa and other crops to be produced in the area.

What do they farm in Dalhart Texas? ›

Economy. Dalhart's economy is centered around agribusiness, including farming, ranching, feedlot operations, large-scale pig farms, and more recently, a cheese processing plant.

How many cows are in Dalhart Texas? ›

The image above is an aerial photo of Coronado Feeders outside Dalhart, Texas. I worked here immediately after college and covered every inch of this place on a daily basis. The capacity of this cattle feedlot is approximately 60,000 head of cattle at one time. The offices and feed mill are on the bottom right.

Is Dalhart TX a good place to live? ›

This small town is perfect for those who like to get away from the city and enjoy the beauty of the Texas High Plains. Dalhart is a small town in the panhandle of Texas. It is a farming, ranching community with Hilmar Cheese factory. Dalhart is a very accepting and safe town to live in.

How big is Dalhart Texas? ›

What is the population of Dalhart Texas 2021? ›

The current population of Dalhart, Texas is 8,551 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates.

What is the elevation of Dalhart Texas? ›

What is Dalhart zip code? ›

What is the biggest feedlot in America? ›

Share: With more than 900,000-head across eleven US locations, Five Rivers Cattle, LLC. is the world's largest cattle feeder. Kersey, Colorado is home to the Kuner Feedlot, which currently houses up to 100,000-head on the 400 acre feedyard area.

How many cows does a Dalhart cattle feeder have? ›

With a capacity of 60,000 cattle, it's less than half the size of some of the biggest. The configuration of pens, run-off channels, and its lagoon of cattle bodily waste is much the same as any other feedlot.

What are cattle prices in Texas? ›

date of sale: September 17th 2022 volume: 1013 trend: Steady/Lower
SteersHeifers
500-600 Lbs.1.20-1.751.15-1.63
600-700 Lbs.1.15-1.721.10-1.57
700-800 Lbs.1.10-1.701.05-1.45
Slaughter Cows.25-.86
6 more rows

Does Dalhart Texas have snow? ›

Dalhart averages 15 inches of snow per year.

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