In El Paso County, Dairy Farming Ban Takes a Heavy Toll
In 2001, dairy farming was banned in El Paso County, Texas, due to an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis. Today, twelve years later, lawmakers and farmers alike are pushing for the ban to be lifted, arguing it would boost the local economy.
In 2003, the U.S.D.A., the Texas Animal Health Commission and El Paso dairy farmers agreed to an estimated $44 million deal to buy out 11 dairies in El Paso, eradicate the cattle and isolate the farmland for 20 years. In 2006, Texas regained its bovine tuberculosis-free status.
The buyout dealt a heavy blow to El Paso County, eliminating jobs and crop diversification for farmers who supplied dairies with feed, said Orlando Flores, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent.
Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune