AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said Tuesday, Feb. 16, farmers and ranchers across the state are seeing devastating effects from the cold weather on livestock, feed and agriculture products.

Commissioner Miller said this could have a dire impact on the food supply chain.

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“As Texas Agriculture Commissioner, I’m issuing a red alert regarding agriculture and our food supply chain here in the state of Texas,” Miller said. “I’m getting calls from farmers and ranchers across the state reporting that the interruptions in electricity and natural gas are having a devastating effect on their operations. In just one example, dairy operations are dumping $8 million worth of milk down the drains every day because the plants that process that milk don’t have power. Grocery stores are already unable to get shipments of dairy products. Store shelves are already empty. We’re looking at a food supply chain problem like we’ve never seen before, even with COVID-19.”

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Miller called on Governor Greg Abbott to designate agriculture producers and processors as critical infrastructure that must be provided gas and electricity to continue operations.

“Governor Abbott must make ag industries a priority for electricity and gas just like hospitals, first responders, fire and police. I salute all our hospital workers and first responders as they deal with this natural disaster, but they won’t have food to eat if our farmers are left without power,” Miller said in a statement. “Governor Abbott, don’t just listen to the big cities. You have an obligation to ensure that rural Texas is not forgotten.”

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“This devastating storm will end, ice will melt, temperatures will rise and Texans will get through this,” said Miller, “but I’m concerned about the damage to rural Texas that will be left behind if Governor Abbott doesn’t act now.” Staff