Dairy Cattle In Jeopardy In Western Washington

dairy cows
Some milk cows on a farm. CREDIT: Sebastiaan ter Burg / Wikimedia

Listen

Dairy farmers across Western Washington say they’re a day or two from totally running out of fodder. That’s because of last week’s floods.

Right now there are thousands of hungry cattle in the state, many in Skagit and Whatcom counties alone.

A major livestock feed mill in northern Washington state has totally broken down under the recent record flooding. And many trucking routes and rail lines are out.

A freshly-calved milking cow can eat upwards of 120 pounds of feed per day. New bovine mothers need a lot of calories to produce gallons of milk each day — sort of like an elite athlete.

“So it’s just a crisis that has the potential to continue to escalate as we move along.” says Fred Likkel, who heads up an advocacy group for family farmers in Whatcom County

Likkel says many farmers across the border in Canada are also cut off from feed for their animals.

***Clarification: Number of cattle in jeopardy has been updated and clarified to thousands. 

Related Stories:

Riley Starks, on spotter tower, and his reefnet fishing crew harvested coho salmon in September off Lummi Island, Washington

The last of the Salish Sea reefnetters don’t want to be the last

Only 12 commercial fishing captains still hold permits to go reefnet fishing in the Pacific Northwest out of a fleet that once numbered in the hundreds. The distinctive fishing technique dates back thousands of years as an Indigenous method to catch salmon. Its practitioners today say the gear should proliferate as the preferred way to harvest healthy salmon runs while avoiding fragile stocks. Continue Reading The last of the Salish Sea reefnetters don’t want to be the last