July 19, 2018

California Farmers Fear Cow Killing Heat Wave

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

Farmers in the Golden State are facing a heatwave very similar to the one that killed thousands of cows last year. 

California dairy farmer Hank Van Exel has been milking cows his whole life and he’s faced many heat waves, but none as devastating as the one that hit California last year, according to CBS Sacramento. 

Last year, Hank’s 6,000 cows endured triple digit heat for weeks. During that time 10 cows died and another 40 suffered milk production losses. This week’s triple digit temperatures have him worried the same thing could happen this year. 

“If this stays it’s going to be catastrophic,” he told CBS Sacramento, talking about Wednesday’s temperature of 103 degrees.

In Tulare, the heart of California’s dairy industry, only five of the next 15 days are forecasted to be below 105 degrees. If that forecast is realized, some cows will certainly die.

While there is help available to producers through the USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program, it doesn’t help everybody. In fact, Van Exel’s losses last year weren’t large enough to qualify him for the program. 

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