Dairy in the Midwest

Dairy farmers are committed to our communities

Midwest Dairy Farms

For dairy farmers, their job is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week commitment to their animals, their land and to their communities. More than 47,000 dairy farms across the country, and 8,000 in the heart of the Midwest, contribute jobs and income to fuel our local communities. And their commitment doesn’t stop there. Their hard work can be seen in the real, fresh and naturally nutrient-rich foods that fuel our families.

Dairy farmers care for their land, their animals and are dedicated to providing us with a safe and wholesome milk supply. And 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.

Here’s a quick look at dairy by the numbers:

  • Dairy farmers support rural communities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
  • There are about 47,000 dairy farms in the United States, including about 8,000 in the Midwest Dairy’s 10 states.
  • About 97 percent of U.S. dairy farms are family owned and operated.
  • There are approximately 25 million dairy cows in the United States. The average herd size is 196 cows.
  • The value of all milk products sold from U.S. dairy farms is more than $40.2 billion.
  • Dairy farms sustain rural America. Even under the nation’s current economic challenges, dairy farmers and companies are a lifeline to more than 900,000 jobs in the United States.
  • Milk is local. It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from dairy farms to the store.

Minnesota

Minnesota Dairy Farms

The Van Santen family of Blue Mound Dairy in Luverne, Minn.

  • In the state of Minnesota, there are 3,495 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the dairy farming industry in Minnesota makes it the 8th largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • Milk production on Minnesota dairy farms yielded approximately 1,061 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Minnesota dairy farms generate approximately$1.87 billion in milk sales annually.
  • Dairy products are the 4th largest agricultural commodity in Minnesota.
  • In Minnesota, the average dairy cow produces about 6.3 gallons of milk per day. That’s more than 2,290 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • Minnesota has 36 plants that process one or more dairy products.

North Dakota

North Dakota Dairy Farms

The Qual family of Qual Dairy in Lisbon, N.D.

  • In the state of North Dakota, there are about 100 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the dairy farming industry in North Dakota makes it the 35th largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • Dairy farming on North Dakota dairy farms produced approximately 38 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Milk production on North Dakota dairy farms generate approximately $68 million in milk sales annually.
  • 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.

South Dakota

South Dakota Dairy Farms

The Reuvekamp family of Hilltop Dairy in Elkton, South Dakota

  • In the state of South Dakota, there are about 255 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the dairy farming industry in South Dakota makes it the 21st largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • South Dakota dairy farms produced approximately 246 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Milk production on South Dakota farms yielded approximately $427 million in milk sales annually.
  • 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.

Nebraska

Nebraska Dairy Farms

The Engelman family of Classic Dairy Inc. in Jansen, Neb.

  • In the state of Nebraska, there are about 180 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the dairy farming industry in Nebraska makes it the 26th largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • Milk production on Nebraska dairy farms yielded approximately 152 million gallons of milk in 2015.
  • Nebraska farms generate more than $245 million in milk sales annually.
  • In Nebraska, the average dairy cow produces about 9 gallons of milk per day. That’s about 2,700 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • Nebraska has 7 plants that process one or more dairy products.

Iowa

Iowa Dairy Farms

The Van Ess Family of Van Ess Dairy LLC in Sanborn, Iowa

  • In the state of Iowa, there are about 1,370 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the dairy farming industry in Iowa makes it the 12th largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • Milk production on Iowa dairy farms yielded approximately 540 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Iowa farms generate approximately $944 million in milk sales annually.
  • 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.

Illinois

Illinois Dairy Farms

The Bohnert family of Bohnert Jerseys in Silvis, Ill.

  • In the state of Illinois, there are about 690 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the dairy farming industry in Illinois makes it the 22nd largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • Milk production on Illinois dairy farms yielded approximately 215 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Illinois farms generate more than $389 million in milk sales annually.
  • 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.

Kansas

Kansas Dairy Farms

The Leach Family of Lin-Crest Farms in Linwood, Kan.

  • In the state of Kansas, there are about 325 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the farming industry in Kansas makes it the 16th largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • Mill production on Kansas dairy farms yielded approximately 362 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Kansas farms generate approximately $592 million in milk sales annually.
  • 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.

Missouri

Atteberry Dairy Farms Conway, Missouri

The Atteberry family of Atteberry Farms in Conway, Missouri

  • In the state of Missouri, there are about 1,230 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the farming industry in Missouri makes it the 25th largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • Milk production on Missouri dairy farms yielded approximately 161 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Missouri farms generate approximately $276 million in milk sales annually.
  • 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.

Arkansas

Arkansas Dairy Farms

The Anglin family of Triple A Farms in Bentonville, Ark.

  • In the state of Arkansas, there are about 75 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the dairy farming industry in Arkansas makes it the 46th largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • Milk production on Arkansas dairy farms yielded approximately 11.2 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Arkansas farms generate approximately $22 million in milk sales annually.
  • 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.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Dairy Farms

The Coblentz family of Coblentz Dairy Farm in Chouteau, Okla.

  • In the state of Oklahoma, there are about 172 licensed dairy herds.
  • The size of the farming industry in Oklahoma makes it the 30th largest milk-producing state in the United States.
  • Milk production on Oklahoma dairy farms yielded approximately 81 million gallons of milk in 2014.
  • Oklahoma farms generate approximately $170 million in milk sales annually.
  • 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.

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

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