Milk tankers
June 24, 2020

California Counties Continue to Dominate Milk Production List

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

California counties continue to dominate the list of top milk producing areas in the country, with 8 making the list of the top 14 milk producing counties.

These top 14 counties represent 25 percent of Federal Order milk marketed in December 2019, according to economists with Central Federal Milk Marketing Order.

“The magnitude of milk from eight California counties with the most marketings—over 169 million pounds each—dwarfs a majority of all other counties combined,” note the economists. “Ranking all the counties with Federal Order milk marketings in ascending order would require marketings from the smallest 1,249 counties (84 percent of the 1,487 total) to equal the amount form the eight largest California counties.”

Tulare, Merced, Kings, Kern and Stanislaus Counties in California top the list. However, a comparison of a similar list from 2017 shows some changing dynamics. Tulare County, while still Number 1, saw production decline about 4 percent from two years ago. Merced County, Number 2, saw production drop almost 10 percent. King, Kern and Stanislaus all saw production increase from 2 years ago.

In 2017, just 13 counties across the country were needed produce 25 percent of the nation’s milk. New to the top 25 percent production list in 2019 were Hartley, Tex., and Madera, California. Chavez, N.M., dropped off the list.

The economists also note that milk production in the United States remains highly concentrated, with just 58 counties that produce milk within the Federal Milk Marketing Order system accounting for 50 percent of production. This represents just 3.9 percent of all counties with Federal Order milk marketings.


                           2019 Ranking                                                                       2017 Ranking

  1. Tulare, Calif.                                                                       1.   Tulare, Calif.
  2. Merced, Calif.                                                                    2.   Merced, Calif.
  3. Kings, Calif.                                                                         3.   Kings, Calif.
  4. Kern, Calif.                                                                          4.   Kern, Calif.
  5. Stanislaus, Calif.                                                                5.   Stanislaus, Calif.
  6. Weld, Colo.                                                                         6.   Weld, Colo.
  7. Fresno, Calif.                                                                      7.   Fresno, Calif.
  8. Yakima, Wash.                                                                   8.   Maricopa, Ariz.
  9. Maricopa, Ariz.                                                                  9.   Yakima, Wash.
  10. Hartley, Tex.                                                                      10. Lancaster, Penn.
  11. San Joaquin, Calif.                                                            11. San Joaquin, Calif.
  12. Lancaster, Penn.                                                               12. Chaves, N.M.
  13. Madera, Calif.                                                                    13. Curry, N.M.
  14. Curry, N.M.