Number of Farms Gets Smaller, But They Produce More

Published on: 05:06AM Mar 27, 2012

Most of you are aware that the number of farms in the US continues to get smaller, but they produce more and more.  In the dairy sector, one report from the Idaho Dairymen's Association indicated in 2008, there were over 800 dairies in the state of Idaho.  Just three years later, this number had dropped to 569, a reduction of almost 30%.

However, on the production side, you guessed it, the amount of milk produced in the state continues to climb and the number of dairy cows during this period increased by about 35%.

In 2011, there were 51,481 dairy operations licensed to sell milk in the US.  Just slightly more than 50% of the milk produced comes from dairies with more than 1,000 cows.  Of that 50%, about 70% comes from those with more than 2,000 head.  In essence, 6% of the nations dairy farms produce more than 60% of the milk.

11 counties marketed 25% of the nation's milk.  7 of the 11 were in California and in order, they are:

  1. Tulare, CA
  2. Merced, CA
  3. Kings, CA
  4. Stanislaus, CA
  5. Kern, CA
  6. Maricopa, AZ
  7. Fresno, CA
  8. Yakima, WA
  9. San Joaquin, CA
  10. Lancaster, PA
  11. Chaves, NM


This trend of bigger dairies producing a greater share of milk production in the US is not going away anytime soon.