Dairy Farming

Dairy farming is more than a job. It’s also a way of life for the men and women who live and work on America’s 41,000-plus dairy farms. Many dairy farmers actually grew up on their farm, and are following the footsteps of those who came before them. Some farms have been in the family for several generations.

Dairy farmers care – for their land, their animals and a safe and wholesome milk supply.

Dairy farming is hard work, performed on the hottest and coldest of days, and through whatever fury Mother Nature supplies. Dairy farms usually don’t come with days off or weekends free. Holidays are celebrated, but not until the cows are milked.

The process plays out every morning, when dairy farmers rise before the sun and head to the barn to provide us with a steady supply of wholesome and nutritious dairy products.

Dairy Farming Facts and Figures (USDA, 2012 data)

  • More than 41,000 U.S. dairy farms provide milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products to the U.S. and other countries. About 97% of U.S. dairy farms are family-owned and operated.
  • The average herd size on a dairy farm is 187 cows.
  • The vast majority (86%) of U.S. dairy farms have less than 200 cows.
  • Farms with more than 100 cows produce 86% of the milk.
  • Dairy farms are in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
  • California is responsible for 21% of the U.S. milk supply – more than any other state.
  • Dairy is the number one agricultural business in California, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, New Hampshire, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Top 5 Dairy Producing States:

  1. California
  2. Wisconsin
  3. New York
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Idaho

If you would like to know more about dairy farming, please visit dairygood.org.