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Idaho Dairy Industry

August 2017

Idaho is the fourth-largest producer of milk in the United States, and dairy farm families work hard to ensure their cows are comfortable and healthy. All of Idaho’s dairy farms are family owned and operated.

The dairy farm families across Idaho contribute some impressive numbers, including:

  • In 2016, Idaho produced 14.6 billion pounds of milk.
  • In 2014, on-farm cash receipts from milk produced on Idaho farms amounted to $3.066 billion dollars.
  • In 2015, Idaho had:
    • 514 dairy farms, all of which are family owned
    • 561,577 milk cows
  • In 2016, Idaho has:
    • produced 14.114 billion pounds of milk
    • 585,000 milk cows
  • As of January 2017, Idaho has:
    • 490 dairy farms,all of which are family owned
    • produced 14.6 billion pounds of milk
    • 580,000 milking cows
  • Since 1970, Idaho milk production has grown 125%
  • Idaho has everything from small dairy farms to some of the nation’s largest:
    • 27.2 percent have 200 or fewer cows
    • 18.3 percent have 201-500 cows
    • 19.6 percent have 501-1,000 cows
    • 16.0 percent have 1,001-2,000 cows
    • 18.9 percent have more than 2,000 cows

Source: 2015 Idaho Dairymen’s Association Industry Report

  • Idaho is home to 22 dairy processing plants that take milk from Idaho farms and turn it into cheese, butter, dry non-fat milk, whey and other ingredients as well as fluid milk
  • In 2015 (the most recent year for which there are records), the Idaho dairy industry supported more than 23,000 jobs:
    • Dairy Farms – 8,100
    • Milk Processing – 3,700
    • Indirect & Induced – 27,600

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)