10 Facts You May Not Know About the Dairy Industry

Shae Ruppert

Jun 23, 2022  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  ICMB |  Livestock |  Public Outreach

showing cows at mclean county fairlittle boy making a face next to a dairy cowlittle girl pulling a dairy cow on a farm

Dairy farmers are some of the hardest working people in our country. Tirelessly dedicating each long day to their cattle and to producing milk for consumers. Now is an even more important time to thank these farmers for what they do as June is National Dairy Month! Below is a list of 10 fun facts about the dairy industry, dairy cattle, and IL dairy farms.  

  1. The IL dairy industry contributed around $29.14 billion in economic impact in 2021 

  1. Top 5 counties for number of dairy cows in Illinois (as Jan 1, 2022): 

  • Clinton – 11,800 

  • Stephenson – 10,600 

  • Washington – 6,400 

  • Jo Daviess – 4,100 

  • McLean – 4,000 

  1. Dairy foods across the country contribute 3.5% of the U.S.  gross domestic product 

  1. As of 2019, the U.S. is producing 60% more milk from 30% fewer cows than 50 years ago, in other words, each cow is producing over 2.5 times as much milk 

  1. The U.S. dairy industry has decreased water use by 65+% over the past decades. 

  1. A lactating dairy cow consumers 30-50 gallons of water a day, along with 110-120 pounds of wet feed or 50-55 pounds of dry matter.  

  1. IL dairies led to 117,100 jobs in 2021

  1. Dairy cattle have a visual field of almost 360° but have trouble seeing things from head on. Also, dairy cattle cannot see the color red as they lack the red retina receptor. 

  1. The greatest amount of milk produced by a dairy cow in the U.S. in one year was 59,298 pounds by a Holstein names Robthom Sue Paddy. To put this in perspective lactating cows produce an average of 23,948 pounds every year. 

  1. 94% of dairy farms in the U.S. are family owned and operated