Average hourly pay for milkers has gone up in the Midwest and the Northeast over the past three years, but has dropped in the West and Southeast.

That’s from the latest Dairy USA Wage Survey, released this week by the University of California-Davis.

Based on 126 responses — 44 from the West, 52 from the Midwest, 9 from the Southeast and 21 from the Northeast — the average hourly wage ranges from $9.76 per hour in the Midwest to $10.16 in the West.  The industry average is $9.95 per hour.  

Average hourly pay goes up with years of service. Milkers with one to three years of experience are paid $9.35 per hour, on average, while those with four to seven years of service are paid $10.20.

The current industry average of $9.95 per hour is up 26 cents from the average in 2006. But in the West, average milker pay dropped 12 cents per hour from 2006, and in the Southeast it dropped one cent per hour.

Gregorio Billikopf, farm advisor in labor management at the University of California, coordinated the survey.

Source: University of California-Davis