USDA reported that licensed dairy farm numbers in the country declined by 2,731 farms, a drop of 6.8%. USDA says there are now just 37,468 licensed dairy farms in the country, down from 40,199 last year. Wisconsin, the state with the most dairy farms in the nation, also had the most going out of business, with 590 farms closing their barn doors in 2018. This is a 6.5% decline. However, cow numbers in the Badger State remain at 1,270,000 cows, down 5,000 head from a year ago but only down 1,000 head from five years ago.
Pennsylvania, the state with the second most dairy farms, lost 370 farms this past year, down 5.6%. Cow numbers in the commonwealth, however, have also plunged 25,000 head, down nearly 5%.
One of the largest percentage drops in dairy farm numbers came in Michigan, with dairy farm numbers totaling 1,520. That’s a decline of 230 farms or a percentage decline of 13%. California also reported a drop of 55 dairy farms in 2018, with dairy farm numbers totaling just 1,335 this year.
No states saw an increase in farm numbers. However, there were 12 states that reported dairy farm numbers remained unchanged: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.