Overview

This page provides information concerning periodic, scheduled ERS outputs on dairy and recent ERS reports related to dairy.

Milk is produced in all 50 States, with the highest producing States in the western and northern areas of the country. Dairy farms—overwhelmingly family owned and managed—are generally members of producer cooperatives. The industry has seen a consistent decline in the number of operations, matched by a rise in the number of cows per operation. Dairy products include fluid beverage milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, dry milk products, condensed milk, and whey products. For more U.S. dairy-related information see Background, Market Outlook, Trade, Policy, and Readings.

ERS provides data and reports on dairy markets, including domestic and international supply, demand, trade, and prices. 

Periodic, Scheduled Outputs Relating to Dairy

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (LDP), a monthly report that provides supply and use projections for U.S. livestock, dairy, and poultry markets based on USDA's most current World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report (WASDE).
  • Dairy Dataa dataset that includes files covering domestic supply, demand, and trade of various dairy products. Data on the U.S. dairy situation and commercial disappearance are updated monthly, and U.S. milk production and related data are updated quarterly. All other data files are updated annually. These include data on dairy per capita consumption; fluid milk sales; milk supply by State and region; milk production and factors affecting supply and utilization of milk in all dairy products; and numbers and size of milk bottling plants.
  • WASDE at a Glance, a monthly interactive visualization that provides key data and highlights from the most current WASDE report on livestock and dairy as well as field crops. 
  • Commodity Costs and Returns, a data product that provides annual estimates of production costs and returns for major field crops, milk, hogs, and cow-calf operations. 
  • Price Spreads from Farm to Consumer, a data product that compares prices paid by consumers for food with prices received by farmers for corresponding commodities. 

Recent ERS Reports Relating to Dairy 

In addition to the periodic Outlook reports and data products, ERS produces reports covering timely issues important to dairy markets in United States and around the world.

Recent ERS publications relating to the dairy sector include:

  • Examining the Decline in U.S. Per Capita Consumption of Fluid Cow’s Milk, 2003–18 U.S. per capital fluid milk is declining. USDA, ERS researchers examined how consumption among children, teenagers, and adults changed over the years 2003 through 2018, including changes in the amounts of milk that each group consumed as a beverage, added to cereal, and added to other types of beverages like coffee and tea (ERR-300, October 2021).
  • "Farm Milk Components and Their Use Among Dairy Products Have Shifted Over Time" Data from the USDA, Economic Research Service show that changes in consumption patterns among dairy products from 2000 to 2019 influenced the percentages of milk fat and skim solids of the largest two product categories, fluid beverage milk and cheese (Amber Waves, August 2021).
  • "Growth in U.S. Dairy Product Exports to Southeast Asia Depends on Competition with Other Major Dairy Exporters" Analysis shows that Southeast Asia’s imports of dairy products from the United States depend on U.S. and foreign export prices. Rising dairy import expenditures for the region could lead to higher or lower U.S. market shares, depending on the product and country (Amber Waves, February 2020).
  • Prospects for Growth in U.S. Dairy Exports to Southeast Asia

    Food demand in Southeast Asia (SEA) is expected to grow in the coming decades, creating opportunities for exporters of dairy products. This study examines the prospects for growth of U.S. dairy exports to the SEA region, and how the U.S. potential to gain or lose market share varies from one Southeast Asian country to another and among products (ERR-278, December 2020).

  • "Plant-Based Products Replacing Cow’s Milk, But the Impact Is Small" Using retail scanner data collected between 2013 and 2017, ERS researchers confirmed that, on average, U.S. households are buying less fluid cow’s milk and rising sales of plant-based milk alternatives are a contributing factor. However, sales of plant-based products are not a primary driver of sales trends for cow’s milk. (Amber Waves, December 2020).

For more ERS publications on dairy see Readings.