SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Happy cows apparently do not come from this U.S. Caribbean territory.
For the first time in a decade, officials are importing fresh milk from the United States because high temperatures have stressed the island's cows and production has dropped, agriculture secretary Javier Rivera said Tuesday.
About 1 million liters (260,000 gallons) of milk have been shipped from Florida since early October, said Rivera, who assured consumers that prices have remained the same.
Puerto Rico has been experiencing higher temperatures than normal even as winter approaches, but Rivera said he expects cooler days to come.
Part of the problem also lies with farmers who have not rotated cows -- allowing a certain portion to rest -- to maintain optimum production, he said.
Luis Cordero, spokesman for the farmers' association milk sector, said they began monitoring the situation in August and noted a significant output drop in October.
Farmers produced more than 12 million liters (3.1 million gallons) of milk every two weeks in May, but were down to 9.5 million liters (2.5 million gallons) in October.
Local demand averages some 10 million liters (2.6 million gallons), according to industry figures.