Cheese wedges.
December 31, 2018

Wisconsin Truly Is Cheese Head Nation

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

While California remains the top milk producing state in the country, no one comes close to Wisconsin in producing cheese.


In 2017 (the latest year with complete data available), Wisconsin produced nearly 3.4 billion pounds of cheese, accounting for 27% of the nation’s cheese production. California was second, with 2.5 billion pounds; Idaho, third, with 959 million pounds; New York, fourth, with 861 million pounds, and New Mexico, fifth, with 766 million pounds.  


More than half of Wisconsin’s cheese output came in the form of Italian-type cheeses, with 1.7 billion pounds of output. Wisconsin’s Italian cheese production accounted for 32% of the nation’s production, followed by California with 30%.


Wisconsin was also the largest cheddar cheese producer, making 704 million pounds. It accounted for 19% of the country’s output of cheddar, followed by Minnesota, with 561 million pounds, or 15%.


California still produces the most milk of any state. In 2017, it pumped out just under 40 billion pounds of milk, or 18% of the nation’s total. Wisconsin was second, with 30 billion pounds, or 14%. New York produced just under 15 billion pounds (7%); Idaho, 14.6 billion pounds (7%), and Texas, 12 billion pounds (6%).


Source of the data is from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Dairy Products reports, and was reported in the December issue of Upper Midwest Dairy News.