The dairy industry is reeling after a freak blizzard killed 35,000 cows

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Blizzard Kills 30,000 Cows in Texas

Dairy farmers in Texas and the Southwest are starting off 2016 with a fierce punch to the gut. That ranging blizzard out West that pummeled the region for two days straight literally buried thousands of cows in snow. So far, 35,000 are dead that ranchers know of, and they don't sound terribly hopeful about the prospects of those that emerged with frostbite. A number of others, today's New York Times story points out, still "might not be found until the snow melts."

The affected region produces 10 percent of the country's milk, and the Times says that about 10 percent of adult dairy cows in one section (west Texas, the state's dairy hub) were lost, while the trade group representing 75 percent of New Mexico's dairy farms says it could take an entire year to return to pre-storm milk levels.

See photos from recent storms in the south:

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The dairy industry is reeling after a freak blizzard killed 35,000 cows
Lightning illuminates a house after a tornado touched down in Jefferson County, Ala., damaging several houses, Friday, Dec. 25, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. A Christmastime wave of severe weather continued Friday. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
In this images released by the Office of the Governor of Alabama, cattle move in flood waters as Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley flies over Elba, Ala., Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, Bentley declared a state of emergency Friday amid widespread flash flooding that follows several days of intense weather throughout the South. (Jamie Martin/Office of the Governor of Alabama via AP)
Against a gray winter sky, volunteers use shovels atop a pile of sand as they help fill sandbags Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in St. Louis. Flooding across Missouri has forced the closure of hundreds of roads and threatened homes. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Two cars are submerged in floodwater in a park Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Kimmswick, Mo. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency due to wide spread flooding around the state that has closed many roads. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
This Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015 photo shows damage to the home where Daniel and Zuleyma Santillano lived with their newborn and three older children in Blue Ridge, Texas, north of Dallas. The Santillano's newborn was killed when the home was destroyed by a tornado Saturday night. (AP Photo/Reese Dunklin)  
Damage of a house is seen after Saturday's tornado spread out in Rowlett, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in apparently strong tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area and caused substantial damage this weekend. (AP Photo/David Warren)
In this photo provided by Kim Serrano, a pet German Shepherd walks in a neighborhood blanketed in snow in Edgewood, N.M., Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. New Mexico's governor declared a State of Emergency on Sunday as residents dealt with the fallout of a crippling snowstorm. (Kim Serrano via AP)
A man runs as sirens sound during a severe storm over downtown Dallas, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, in Dallas. The National Weather Service said the Dallas area was under a tornado warning Saturday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
A building is submerged by the Pea river as people wait to cross in to downtown on highway 84 bridge, Dec. 26, 2015 in Elba, Ala. The river crested today and began to recede before flooding the downtown area. Officials said more than 100 houses and businesses were flooded by the rising waters. (AP Photo/ Hal Yeager)
Elba and state officials discuss their next step as they gather at the highway 84 bridge, Dec. 26, 2015 in Elba, Ala. The river crested today and began to recede before flooding the downtown area. Officials said more than 100 houses and businesses were flooded by the rising waters. (AP Photo/ Hal Yeager)
Birmingham firefighters work a scene after a tornado touched down in Jefferson County, Ala., damaging several houses, Friday, Dec. 25, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. A Christmastime wave of severe weather continued Friday. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
A vehicle sits among debris in an area near Linden, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015. Several people were killed in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas as spring-like storms mixed with unseasonably warm weather spawned rare Christmastime tornadoes in the South. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Two men in a boat explore a flooded business near along Copper Creek Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Calhoun, Ga. Heavy rain caused flooding in parts of the state. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Shovels lean against a sandbag wall Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Kimmswick, Mo. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency due to wide spread flooding around the state that has closed many roads. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
The driver of a pickup truck crosses a flooded section of road Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Eureka, Mo. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency due to wide spread flooding around the state that has closed many roads after a storm system dropped more than half a foot of rain and left several dead. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Michael Downard stands outside his house in Rowlett, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, the morning after it was struck by a tornado. At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in apparently strong tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area and caused substantial damage this weekend. (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)
Delores Downard salvages items from her son's house in Rowlett, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, the morning after it was struck by a tornado. At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in apparently strong tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area and caused substantial damage this weekend. (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)
In this photo provided by Kim Serrano, a pet German Shepherd walks in a neighborhood blanketed in snow in Edgewood, N.M., Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. New Mexico's governor declared a State of Emergency on Sunday as residents dealt with the fallout of a crippling snowstorm. (Kim Serrano via AP)
Bob Moore stands in his house in Rowlett, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, the morning after it was damaged by a tornado. At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in apparently strong tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area and caused substantial damage this weekend. (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)
People run as weather sirens sound as a severe storm passes over downtown Dallas, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, in Dallas. The National Weather Service said the Dallas area was under a tornado warning Saturday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Tammy Poirrier walks down a flooded road to get back to her home before evacuating Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Eureka, Mo. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency due to wide spread flooding around the state that has closed many roads after a storm system dropped more than half a foot of rain and left several dead. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Women walk as rain falls in downtown Dallas and weather sirens sounds Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. The National Weather Service said the Dallas area was under a tornado warning Saturday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Farmers will take a hell of a hit, in other words, but they say it's hard right now to know how bad it'll be. Losses go beyond dead cows (which one rancher noted cost $2,200 to replace), because cows that survived have been through an ordeal, too, that will seriously hamper productivity.

Cows kind of dry up if they aren't milked twice a day — many of these poor creatures spent two days shivering alone in hutches — and even worse, milk farmers stored in tankers beforehand likely spoiled because delivery trucks couldn't arrive in time, also thanks to the storm.

The one bit of good news is for consumers: The price of dairy products isn't expected to rise noticeably.

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