According to the latest US census, more than 20 per cent of the nation’s dairy farms has closed between 2012 and 2017. USDA survey data in 2018 says that number dropped an additional five per cent last year with more than 1,800 farms closing.
Herds milking more than 500 cows declined by more than 30 per cent and made up nearly nine per cent of dairy farms in 2017. The number of farms selling milk with less than 100 milk cows declined by 28 per cent and made up 64 per cent of the dairy farm total. Farms ranging from 100 to less than 500 milk cows declined by four per cent and made up 27 per cent of the total. Less than one per cent of farms milked more than 5,000 cows which were a new category in the census. The largest percentage of dairy farms, milking less than 100 cows, produced slightly more than 10 per cent of the milk supply while those with 500 or more produced nearly 70 per cent.