Iowa ranks 12th in the nation in total pounds of milk produced.

Value-Added Agriculture - Dairy

Iowa has tremendous water resources, people resources, feed resources, transportation infrastructure, dairy heritage and consistent top markets; describing a place with competitive advantage in all the main categories. Iowa is a place with always competitive costs and high prices for milk. Iowa has all the comparative advantages which drive naturally to competitive business advantages for dairy industry stakeholders operating here.

Dairy cows and the economic activity that they generate in the local economy have always and continue to be one of the most robust economic stimuli that exist. The most recent IMPLAN model (2011) quantifies that fact with the following statistics.

  • $23,445 is the total economic impact per cow through direct/indirect and induced commerce.
  • Each cow generates the equivalent of .1 full time job created throughout the entire dairy and processing sectors.
  • Over 22,000 jobs are supported by the activities directly, indirectly and induced by a strong dairy presence.

Nationally, Iowa ranks 12th in total pounds of milk produced, representing 2.25 percent of the 192.8 billion pounds in total U.S. milk production. (Source: NASS) Iowa has 209,000 milk cows in production on over 1,700 farms, producing 4.34 billion pounds of milk. (Source: NASS) In addition, there are more than 600 dairy goat operations and 15 licensed processing facilities. (Source: 2007 Census of Agriculture) Consistent with national trends, the total number of dairy farms has declined, yet the production per cow and total production both continue to increase with averages of 20,751 pounds of milk produced per cow. (Source: NASS) Increases in production are a result of dedicated producers and support industries utilizing or providing access to new technologies, improved feed efficiencies and operation management.

Access the full Iowa's Dairy Industry, An Economic Review  

Contact the IADG Staff for assistance with your next dairy project.