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An important component of Indiana’s economy is the dairy sector



Indianapolis, Indiana – Indiana’s economy benefits greatly from the dairy industry even though it does not rank in the top five states in the nation for milk production.

The Hoosier State is home to over 700 dairy farms, according to the American Dairy Association of Indiana. Approximately 95% of such dairy farms are family-owned, according to the ADAI.

Almost 174,000 dairy cows are living on the farms. The ADAI estimates that an average farm tends to 140 cows.

Additionally, Indiana is home to over 20 dairy processing facilities. The Hoosier State is home to three specialty cheese facilities, nine ice cream plants, eight fluid milk processors, one Reddi-wip facility, and one condensed milk powder mill, according to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

Leading dairy processors, including ConAgra Foods, Edy’s, Kroger, Nestle, and Prairie Farms, are based in Indiana.

Indiana produces the 14th most milk in the country. According to the ISDA, the Hoosier State produces the second most ice cream in the nation.

About four billion pounds of milk are produced annually by cows in Indiana. Approximately four million pounds of milk are exported from Indiana each day, according to the ADAI.

An eight-ounce glass of milk costs less than twenty-five cents. The ADAI states that milk usually gets from the farm to the grocery shop in 48 hours or less.

Dairy enthusiasts can visit to find out the precise source of their milk. Milk cartons, yogurt containers, coffee creamers, and other items have codes on them. Dairy lovers will be able to determine the precise source of their milk by entering those codes on the website.

One of the American industries with the highest levels of regulation is dairy. Before milk is placed on store shelves, it must pass a number of testing and sanitization procedures. Click here to learn more about the processing of dairy.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, California, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas, and New York are the top five states in the nation for milk production.

Ninety-four percent of the nine million dairy cows in the United States are Holsteins, distinguished by their characteristic black-and-white markings. A mature Holstein normally weighs around 1,500 pounds and has a shoulder height of 58 inches, according to the Holstein Association USA.

Every lactation, a Holstein produces over 23,000 pounds of milk or 2,674 gallons. A cow’s typical lactation lasts 305 days, according to the Holstein Association USA.

The United States produced 226 billion pounds of milk in 2022 alone, according to the USDA. The estimated economic impact of the dairy business in the United States as of 2021 was $753 billion.

As of 2021, the dairy business in the United States supported 3.3 million jobs and paid out around $41.6 billion in direct wages, according to the International Dairy Foods Association.

According to the IDFA, 3.5% of the nation’s GDP is derived from the dairy industry.


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