Just how much has our industry consolidated?

It took only 12 counties to produce 25 percent of our nation's milk last December.

By casting a slightly wider net, 56 counties were responsible for producing half of the U.S. milk needs, according to research conducted by the Central Federal Milk Marketing Order administrators.

An expanded list of 180 counties produced 75 percent of the nation's milk.

There is one caveat to this data. It is based on statistics from Federal Milk Marketing Orders and California's State Milk Marketing Order. That means much of the milk production from the nation's third-largest dairy state based on milk production - Idaho - is not included in this survey. Had the majority of Idaho's production been included, the top 25 percent of milk production in 12 counties would have been higher, as Idaho's Gooding County ranked fourth in the U.S. with 178,661 cows.

The county data mirrors state and national milk production. The top two dairy states - California and Wisconsin - account for 34 percent of the nation's milk flow. When adding the next three states - Idaho, New York and Pennsylvania - the percentage climbs to 53 percent.

If you follow this link, you can review the entire slide deck from the Central Federal Milk Marketing Order.

The slides also highlight that 855 counties expanded milk flow in December compared to the same time last year. Meanwhile, 1,038 counties reduced milk flow.

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