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USA 06.02.2024

"Cash Cows": Indiana's Dairy Industry Plays a Vital Role in State Economy

Source: The DairyNews
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Despite not being among the top milk-producing states in the U.S., Indiana's dairy industry significantly contributes to the state's economic prosperity.
 "Cash Cows": Indiana's Dairy Industry Plays a Vital Role in State Economy
The American Dairy Association of Indiana reveals that Indiana boasts over 700 dairy farms, with approximately 95% being family-owned. Housing more than 174,000 dairy cows, these farms tend to an average of 140 cows each.

Indiana is home to over 20 dairy processing plants, including three specialty cheese facilities, nine ice cream plants, eight fluid milk processors, one Reddi-wip factory, and one condensed milk powder plant, as reported by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. Key players in the state's dairy processing sector include ConAgra Foods, Edy’s, Kroger, Nestle, and Prairie Farms.

Ranking 14th nationally in milk production, Indiana stands out as the second-largest state in the country for ice cream production. The state's dairy cows contribute approximately four billion pounds of milk annually, with around four million pounds exported daily, according to the ADAI.

With milk costing less than 25 cents per eight-ounce glass, the journey from farm to grocery store typically takes about 48 hours. The ADAI emphasizes transparency in the industry, allowing dairy enthusiasts to trace their milk's origin through codes on cartons using whereismymilkfrom.com.

The dairy sector is one of the most regulated industries in the U.S., subjecting milk to rigorous sanitization processes and tests before reaching supermarket shelves.

While California, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas, and New York lead in milk production nationally, Indiana plays a crucial role in the industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the country produced 226 billion pounds of milk in 2022, with the dairy industry's economic impact estimated at approximately $753 billion.

The International Dairy Foods Association highlights the extensive employment generated by the dairy industry, supporting 3.3 million jobs and contributing around $41.6 billion in direct wages as of 2021. Accounting for about 3.5% of the country's Gross Domestic Product, the dairy industry's substantial impact underscores its significance in both economic and agricultural landscapes.
Keith Woodford
Keith Woodford
principal consultant at Agri food Systems Ltd.
Synlait is in big trouble with losses mounting up and no easy answers, says Keith Woodford. For much of the past 20 years, Synlait was an entrepreneurial player in the New Zealand dairy industry, with a strong focus on growth. For a long time, it seemed to be doing everything right.
Lee Mielke
Lee Mielke
editor of the Mielke Market Weekly
Dairy farm milk production continues to struggle and remained below a year ago for the seventh consecutive month.
February 2024
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