Midwest Dairy Association

Dairy in the Midwest

Dairy Farming is vital to our communities. It’s a way of life for the men and woman who live and work on America’s 47,000 dairy farms. And, dairy is essential to the health of communities across the country because it contributes jobs, income and economic vitality. Here’s a quick look at dairy farming facts and figures:

  • Dairy farms support rural communities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
  • There are about 47,000 dairy farms in the United States. About 97% of U.S. dairy farms are family-owned and operated.
  • There are approximately 9.25 million dairy cows in the U.S. The average herd size on a dairy farm is 196 cows.
  • The value of all milk products sold from U.S. farms is about $40,276,900,000.
  • Where milk goes, jobs follow. From farm to processor to distribution and retail, dairy creates jobs that support the economic well-being of rural and urban America.
  • Dairy farms sustain rural America. Even under the nation’s current economic challenges, dairy farmers and companies are a lifeline to 900,000 jobs in the United States.

Note: These statistics were compiled from the following sources:
State Departments of Agriculture
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services
Dairy industry sources, including the International Dairy Foods Association and Dairy Management, Inc. 
© 2014

Click a state to see the dairy production statistics in that area.

Arkansas

  • In the state of Arkansas, there are about 75 licensed dairy herds.
  • Arkansas dairy farms produced approximately 11.2 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Arkansas farms generate approximately $22 million in milk sales annually.
  • Arkansas is the 46th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In Arkansas, the average dairy cow produces about 3.7 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 1,356 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • Arkansas has 3 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

Iowa

  • In the state of Iowa, there are about 1,354 licensed dairy herds.
  • Iowa dairy farms produced approximately 540 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Iowa farms generate approximately $944 million in milk sales annually.
  • Iowa is the 12th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In Iowa, the average dairy cow produces about 7 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 2,575 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • Iowa has 14 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

Minnesota

  • In the state of Minnesota, there are 3,495 licensed dairy herds.
  • Minnesota dairy farms produced approximately 1,061 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Minnesota farms generate approximately $1.87 billion in milk sales annually.
  • Dairy products are the 4th largest agricultural commodity in Minnesota.
  • Minnesota is the 8th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • Minnesota has 36 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

Illinois

  • In the state of Illinois, there are 690 licensed dairy herds.
  • Illinois dairy farms produced approximately 215 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Illinois farms generate more than $389 million in milk sales annually.
  • Illinois is the 22nd largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In Illinois, the average dairy cow produces more than 6 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 2,252 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • Illinois has 23 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

Missouri

  • In the state of Missouri, there are about 1,230 licensed dairy herds.
  • Missouri dairy farms produced approximately 161 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Missouri farms generate approximately $276 million in milk sales annually.
  • Missouri is the 25th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In Missouri, the average dairy cow produces about 4.7 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 1,705 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • Missouri has 29 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

South Dakota

  • In the state of South Dakota, there are about 255 licensed dairy herds.
  • South Dakota dairy farms produced approximately 246 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • South Dakota farms generate approximately $427 million in milk sales annually.
  • South Dakota is the 21st largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In South Dakota, the average dairy cow produces about 6.8 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 2,502 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • South Dakota has 10 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • The average person consumes 6 pounds of cheese a year, and South Dakota produces enough of this dairy food for 44 million people.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

North Dakota

  • In the state of North Dakota, there are about 100 licensed dairy herds.
  • North Dakota dairy farms produced approximately 38 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • North Dakota farms generate approximately $68 million in milk sales annually.
  • North Dakota is the 35th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In North Dakota, the average dairy cow produces about 6 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 2,209 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • North Dakota has 5 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

Nebraska

  • In the state of Nebraska, there are about 195 licensed dairy herds.
  • Nebraska dairy farms produced approximately 139 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Nebraska farms generate more than $245 million in milk sales annually.
  • Nebraska is the 26th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In Nebraska, the average dairy cow produces about 7 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 2,508 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year. 
  • Nebraska has 7 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

Kansas

  • In the state of Kansas, there are about 325 licensed dairy herds.
  • Kansas dairy farms produced approximately 362 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Kansas farms generate approximately $592 million in milk sales annually.
  • Kansas is the 16th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In Kansas, the average dairy cow produces about 7 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 2,544 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • Kansas has 5 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

Oklahoma

  • In the state of Oklahoma, there are about 172 licensed dairy herds.
  • Oklahoma dairy farms produced approximately 81 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Oklahoma farms generate approximately $170 million in milk sales annually.
  • Oklahoma is the 30th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In Oklahoma, the average dairy cow produces about 5.6 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 2,041 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • Oklahoma has 4 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.