June is N.C. Dairy Month

by | Jun 10, 2013

June is National Dairy month. North Carolina has a thriving dairy industry that is growing with value-added processors, such as cheese and ice cream. Here’s a look at the latest numbers and facts about our state’s dairy industry:

  • There are about 290 dairy farms in North Carolina. The average size of a N.C. dairy farm is 160 cows and 500 acres.
  • Nearly all, 97 percent, of N.C. dairy farms are family-owned.
  • North Carolina cash farm receipts for the sale of milk was $205 million in 2012.
  • North Carolina dairy accounts for more than half a billion dollars in economic activity.
  • North Carolina has seven Grade A milk processing plants, one large commercial cheese processing plant and 10 homestead cheese operations.
  • North Carolina is one of the leading states in the Southeast in organic dairy production with six organic dairies.
  • In 2012, North Carolina ranked 31st in the nation in both milk production (112,364,946 gallons) and number of dairy cows (46,000 total head).
  • In 2012, the average N.C. dairy cow produced 2,442 gallons of milk, placing the state 16th in the nation and first in the Southeast for average milk production per-cow.
  • An average dairy cow consumes between 80 and 100 pounds of feed per day and 20 to 30 gallons of water a day, drinking more in the summer and less in the winter.
  • No growth hormones (rBGH) are given to N.C. dairy cattle, based on cooperative agreements between farmers and processors.