Though Michigan dairy cow numbers are higher than they have been in years, they are nowhere near the peak in dairy cow numbers in the state. The record year was 1945 when dairy farmers in the state milked more than 1 million cows. Because dairy farming has the potential to negatively impact water and air quality, Michigan’s dairy producers are working hard to protect the environment and prevent accidents that would degrade the quality of Michigan’s environmental resources.
Michigan dairy farming is a great success story. As cow numbers and milk production increase, Michigan farmers are increasingly feeding more of the US and world population that need good nutrition. Michigan dairy producers also supply some of the highest quality milk in the nation, ranking second in the nation in 2012 for lowest somatic cell count, a measure of milk quality and cow udder health.
The growth in milk production has brought increased investment in milk processing plants to the state and increased investment in the infrastructure and businesses that serve agriculture.
There is still potential for more growth in Michigan dairy. That is great news for the state and for consumers. So toast the accomplishment of Michigan dairy by raising a glass of milk, tipping your ice cream cone, clicking your cups of yogurt or slicing off another chunk of cheese for Michigan dairy producers and professionals!