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Wisconsin Lost Just 360 Dairy Herds in 2020
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/07/2021

Despite a global health pandemic and extremely volatile milk prices, more Wisconsin dairy operations were able to ride the storm and remain in business in 2020 compared to more recent years. According to the state's agriculture department, there were 6,932 herds milking during the first week of January. That's a drop of 360 from the same time a year earlier. In comparison, America's Dairyland lost 818 licensed herds during 2019, and more than 500 in both 2018 and 2017.

Clark County continues to hold the highest number of herds in the state with 714, followed by Marathon County with 421.

Milwaukee County registered just one herd as of January 1, with Forest, Florence and Oneida Counties each losing their remaining dairy farms just over a year ago.

However, the reduction in total farms does not mean there's less cows or a loss of production. That's because the state's remaining dairy operations are still milking over 1.28 million head of cows and producing a record amount of milk.

DATCP records show that 91 percent of state dairy operations are Grade A certified, with nine percent licensed as Grade B.

Wisconsin has been keeping track of dairy farm numbers since 1950. At that time, the state had 143,000 dairy operations and accounted for about four percent of the nation's total dairy farms.

Total licensed dairy herds in Wisconsin during the past 10 years:

2021: 6,932
2020: 7,292
2019: 8,110
2018: 8,801
2017: 9,304
2016: 9,695
2015: 10,081
2014: 10,541
2013: 11,155
2012: 11,761
2011: 12,467

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