Fourteen U.S. Counties Produce 25% Of All U.S. Milk

California dominates a top ten rounded out by counties in Colorado, Washington, Arizona, and Texas.

There are dairies in every U.S. state- even Alaska– but not all dairy production is created equal.

According to a recent USDA report, fourteen U.S. counties produce 25% of the country’s milk supply.

As Jim Dickrell writes for

California counties continue to dominate the list of top milk producing areas in the country, with 8 making the list of the top 14 milk producing counties.

These top 14 counties represent 25% of Federal Order milk marketed in December 2019, according to economists with Central Federal Milk Marketing Order.

“The magnitude of milk from eight California counties with the most marketings—over 169 million pounds each—dwarfs a majority of all other counties combined,” note the economists. “Ranking all the counties with Federal Order milk marketings in ascending order would require marketings from the smallest 1,249 counties (84 percent of the 1,487 total) to equal the amount form the eight largest California counties.”

Tulare, Merced, Kings, Kern and Stanislaus Counties in California top the list. However, a comparison of a similar list from 2017 shows some changing dynamics. Tulare County, while still Number 1, saw production decline about 4% from two years ago. Merced County, Number 2, saw production drop almost 10%. King, Kern and Stanislaus all saw production increase from 2 years ago.

In 2017, just 13 counties across the country were needed produce 25% of the nation’s milk. New to the top 25% production list in 2019 were Hartley, Tex., and Madera, California. Chavez, N.M., dropped off the list.

The economists also note that milk production in the United States remains highly concentrated, with just 58 counties that produce milk within the Federal Milk Marketing Order system accounting for 50% of production. This represents just 3.9% of all counties with Federal Order milk marketings.


Here are the lists of top dairy counties, as of 2017 and 2019:

2019 Ranking                                                                       2017 Ranking

1. Tulare, Calif.                                                                       1.   Tulare, Calif.

2. Merced, Calif.                                                                    2.   Merced, Calif.

3. Kings, Calif.                                                                         3.   Kings, Calif.

4. Kern, Calif.                                                                          4.   Kern, Calif.

5. Stanislaus, Calif.                                                                5.   Stanislaus, Calif.

6. Weld, Colo.                                                                         6.   Weld, Colo.

7. Fresno, Calif.                                                                      7.   Fresno, Calif.

8. Yakima, Wash.                                                                   8.   Maricopa, Ariz.

9. Maricopa, Ariz.                                                                  9.   Yakima, Wash.

10. Hartley, Tex.                                                                      10. Lancaster, Penn.

11. San Joaquin, Calif.                                                            11. San Joaquin, Calif.

12. Lancaster, Penn.                                                               12. Chaves, N.M.

13. Madera, Calif.                                                                    13. Curry, N.M.

14. Curry, N.M.

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James A

James is EIC's Project Development manager and company webmaster. He has a BA from Washington State University and is pursuing an MBA from Eastern Washington University. In 2020 he launched a Bitcoin-based merchandising company for small business and content creators.

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