A website from UGA Cooperative Extension

Food, Agriculture, and Resource Economics

April 2, 2024

Georgia’s dairy industry is estimated to have a farm gate value of over $375 million in 2022 according to UGA’s most recent Farm Gate Value report. The dairy industry ranks just outside the top-ten as the 11th largest agricultural industry in Georgia.

Early last week, cows in dairy herds in Kansas and Texas tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Since then, additional states have reported HPAI cases in dairy cattle (DTN/Progressive Farmer). The risk to humans is generally low as milk from sick cows do not enter the supply chain and the pasteurization process would kill the virus. However, this event does show that the dairy industry is at risk from HPAI affecting production. In the affected herds, about 10% of cows were infected. One of the main impacts appears to be reduced milk production. Lower milk production is especially detrimental in the current market environment of low milk prices. Keep an eye out for developments as the situation is changing rapidly.

Another risk is that consumers stop buying beef out of fear and beef prices drop. This appeared to occur yesterday as feeder cattle prices dropped with news of a human case of bird flu connected to the Texas outbreak (Reuters).

It is important for producers to maintain good biosecurity measures on their operation. Some of these best practices were recently published by the Georgia Department of Agriculture .

For more detailed information about our extension and research efforts, please visit the UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics extension page:

Will Secor
Assistant Professor
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
University of Georgia

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