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Governor Walker proclaimed June as Dairy Month throughout the State of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is known as America’s Dairyland – and for good reason – with more dairy farms than any other state in the country and accounting for almost half of specialty cheese production in the U.S., including ranking first among all states in the production of cheddar, American, provolone, Muenster, and limburger cheeses.

Below are just a few more reasons why Wisconsin claims the title of America’s Dairyland.

Milk Production

  • In 2017, the state produced 30.32 billion pounds of milk. Wisconsin produces about 14% of the U.S. total.
  • Wisconsin has 8,595 dairy farms – more than any other state in the country – about 96% of which are family-owned. Wisconsin also leads the nation in organic dairy farms and has more dairy goats and sheep than any state.
  • Wisconsin farms hold more than 1.28 million cows, with an average Wisconsin cow producing approximately 23,725 pounds of milk per year.

Cheese & Processing

  • Wisconsin has 410 operating dairy plants, 144 cheese plants, 14 butter factories, 35 ice cream plants, and 15 yogurt plants according to the 2016-2017 Wisconsin Dairy Plant Directory.
  • Wisconsin cheesemakers make 27% of the nation’s cheese, ranking Wisconsin as the top cheese producing state. In 2017, Wisconsin produced 3.37 billion pounds of cheese.
  • Wisconsin ranks fourth in world cheese production, behind only the United States as a whole, Germany, and France. Wisconsin produces even more than Italy.
  • The state’s about 1,200 licensed cheesemakers make over 600 varieties, types, and styles of cheese – nearly double the number of any other state. Wisconsin is the only state with a Master Cheese Maker Program®.
  • At the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest, Wisconsin earned 47 gold medals and had five finalists for the best cheese. The contest had 3,402 entries. Wisconsin took home 60.1% of the awards given at the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.

Economic Impact

  • Dairy is the largest segment of Wisconsin agriculture. Of the $88.3 billion economic impact of agriculture, $43.4 billion is contributed by the dairy industry.
  • Dairy means more to Wisconsin than citrus to Florida or potatoes to Idaho. Wisconsin dairy’s $43.4 billion compares to $9.0 billion of Florida citrus or $6.7 billion of Idaho potatoes. Dairy also means more to Wisconsin than apples to Washington ($7.55 billion) or raisins to California ($632 million).
  • The dairy industry employs 78,900 people in the state. Jobs created by dairy businesses bring long-term stability to local employment bases.
  • The average Wisconsin dairy cow generates more than $34,000 a year in economic activity and these dollars circulate throughout the local community, supporting schools and local businesses.