March 3, 2008
The pursuit of more bucks produced a lot of bull.
Texas regulators have issued permits in the Panhandle for enough dairy cattle to house
more than a tenth of the entire U.S. dairy population, according to Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality records and U.S. agricultural statistics.
Melanie Barnes, a Texas Tech geologist who will chair a committee of the regional
water planning group tackling accurate dairy numbers, found the new estimates far
The permits would probably need to be referenced, but she said the committee needed
the water plan to reflect the economic realities of the region. Water estimates would
probably continue to change in future planning processes as the dairy numbers settled,
"Personally, it sounds much more reasonable than what was originally discussed," Barnes
said. "That's the beauty of this legislation, is we can keep reviewing this as much
as we want. And I think we should."