Economic Research Report No. (ERR-274) 61 pp

July 2020

Consolidation in U.S. Dairy Farming

The number of licensed U.S. dairy herds fell by more than half between 2002 and 2019, with an accelerating rate of decline in 2018 and 2019, even as milk production continued to grow. Production has been shifting to much larger but fewer farms, and that shift shows no sign of slowing. Larger operations realize lower costs of production, on average, and those advantages persist.

Keywords: farm consolidation, dairy sector, milk production, dairy farms, dairy herd size, commodity costs and returns, net returns, dairy farm closures, milk prices, feed costs, Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC), Northeast, Midwest, consolidation, milk cows, Census of Agriculture, Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), dairy exports, organic dairy production

In this publication...