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South Fork Dairy Farm Fire Kills 18,000 Cows 

Explosion and fire at South Fork Dairy Farm in Dimmit, Texas, kills 18,000 cows. To date, the fire that took place on April 10th, 2023 is the largest mass death of cows in a single fire across the United States in at least two decades.
April 26, 2023 Updated: August 1, 2023
cow, transport cows, transport

On Monday, April 10th, 2023, an explosion occurred at the South Fork Dairy Farm in Dimmit, Texas, and a fire that killed 18,000 cows. Authorities believe that the fire was caused by a potential equipment malfunction in the facility’s manure management system. The animals were trapped inside the burning factory and only a few survived.

South Fork Dairy Farm, one of the largest dairy farms in the country, is located in Dimmitt, Texas, 75 miles northwest of Lubbock. To date, the fire that took place on April 10th is the largest mass death of cows in a single fire across the United States in at least two decades.

The magnitude of the Dimmitt fire was record-breaking due to the vast number of animals housed in the building, which was equivalent to the capacity of 26 football fields. Fires are all too common on factory farms, where large numbers of animals are confined in close proximity.

Sid Miller, the Texas agricultural commissioner, said:

This was the deadliest barn fire for cattle in Texas history… The investigation and cleanup may take some time.

Sid Miller
Baby cows on factory farm

As stated by local law enforcement, the fire may have been initiated by a potential equipment malfunction. In an interview with the local news station Fox34, Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera said:

It was probably what they call a ‘honey badger,’ like a vacuum that sucks manure and water out. It is possible that it overheated and the methane and things like that might have ignited and spread out with an explosion and a fire.

Sal Rivera

The cows who survived the blast are being relocated to another facility located to the north of South Fork Dairy Farm. 

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Calf in a dairy farm


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