Just about everyone in the dairy industry knows the biggest U.S. dairy states — California and Wisconsin. However, what about the smallest?

No matter which measuring stick you use, the smallest dairy state (according to 2018 data from USDA) is Alaska. It had just one farm, just 300 cows, and made just 2.8 million total pounds of milk.

By comparison, Wisconsin had 8,500 times more farms, California had 5,780 times more cows, and California made 14,433 times more milk.

By the numbers: Dairy farms
Fewest number of dairy farms
Alaska – 1
Hawaii – 2
Rhode Island – 10
Wyoming – 10
Nevada – 20
Delaware – 25
Alabama – 30
Arkansas – 50
New Jersey – 50
South Carolina – 50

At the other end of the scale, Wisconsin ranked No. 1 for dairy farm numbers in 2018 with 8,500 – which is slightly more than all of the 41 smallest states combined.

Back in 1992, when USDA began tracking licensed dairy farm numbers, Wisconsin had 31,286 all by itself. In 2018, the entire U.S had only 37,467.

By the numbers: Cows
Fewest cows
Alaska – 300
Rhode Island – 700
Hawaii – 2,000
Delaware – 4,800
Alabama – 5,000
Arkansas – 6,000
New Jersey – 6,000
Wyoming – 6,000
W. Virginia – 7,000
Mississippi – 9,000

California ranked No. 1 for total cow numbers with 1.734 million — which is more than all of the 35 smallest states combined.

By the numbers: Milk
Least pounds of milk
Alaska – 2.8 million
Rhode Island – 11.7 million
Hawaii – 34 million
Alabama – 73 million
Arkansas – 74 million
Delaware – 91.5 million
New Jersey – 110 million
W. Virginia – 111 million
Mississippi – 129 million
Wyoming – 142 million

California also ranked No. 1 for total milk production with 40.413 billion pounds — which is more than all of the 36 smallest states combined.

As a group, the 10 smallest states only made about one-third of 1 percent of total U.S. milk production.

By the numbers: One last thought
By the way, the average dairy in New Mexico in 2018 made more milk (56.976 million pounds) than Alaska, Rhode Island, and Hawaii combined (48.5 million pounds).

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2019
April 8, 2019
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