Storm Ravages Texas Food Supply Chain

Feb. 17, 2021
The food supply chain in Texas is experiencing severe weather disruption.

The food supply chain in Texas is experiencing such severe weather disruption that the state’s agricultural commissioner is asking the governor to name food production and processing facilities as “critical infrastructure.”

The winter storm and subsequent power outages that gripped the state this week have devastated herds and flocks, and interrupted food processing to the point where supplies have to be discarded, while keeping food from reaching retailers.

"Store shelves are already empty," state agriculture commissioner Sid Miller told KHOU-TV. "We’re looking at a food supply chain problem like we’ve never seen before, even with COVID-19.”

Miller asked Gov. Greg Abbott to designate farms, ranches and food processing facilities as “critical infrastructure,” meaning they would be eligible for power and natural gas supplies right along with homes and hospitals.

As it is, farmers and ranchers are struggling to take care of cattle, chickens and other animals with frozen water sources and no heat, while coping with interruptions in feed supplies. Plants, meanwhile, have been hit by power outages.

Three dairy processing plants belonging to Select Milk Producers had to shut down for lack of electric power. As a result, the company’s CEO told the Wall Street Journal, the company is left every day with about 150 tanker trucks of milk that it can’t process. Farmers who can’t get their milk processed are dumping $1 million worth daily, the CEO said.

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