Frederick Co., then Washington are Md.'s top dairy areas

June 20, 2006

June is celebrated in farming communities across the nation as National Dairy Month.

According to DTN, an Omaha, Neb.-based company that specializes in such information, more than a third of the dairy products Americans eat are cheeses and roughly another third is fluid milk.

After that, it's butter, then ice cream, and then all other dairy products, such as yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese.

Milk production has been rising the last four years and is expected to continue climbing this year, the company said.

According to the USDA's milk production report, milk output in the top 23 dairy states grew 5.4 percent during January, versus a year ago. Also, dairy cow numbers are higher, up 103,000 head from January 2005, DTN said.


As Maryland's third-largest agricultural commodity, milk and dairy products accounted for $196 million, or 11 percent, of total farm receipts in 2004, the state Department of Agriculture said.

In 2004, Maryland's 850 dairy farms produced 1.16 billion pounds of milk, the agency said. That's about 27 gallons for each of the state's 5.2 million residents.

There are 74,000 milk cows in Maryland. Each produces about 15,700 pounds of milk per year.

Frederick County, which is Maryland's top milk-producing county, produced 347 million pounds of milk in 2004 - 30 percent of the total milk production in the state. Washington and Carroll counties produced 214 million and 190 million pounds, respectively. These three counties accounted for 65 percent of Maryland's milk.

In 2004, 18.9 million gallons of ice cream were produced in Maryland, the agency said.

"Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are an essential part of a nutritious and healthy well-rounded diet," said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Lewis R. Riley. "Maryland's dairy farmers work hard to provide wholesome, healthful milk for consumers here in Maryland and across the nation."

June Dairy Month was established in 1937 and initially supported by the National Dairy Council to celebrate the dairy industry and to help stabilize dairy demand during periods of peak production.

In Pennsylvania, the dairy industry contributes $1.7 billion to the state's economy each year, said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff.

Pennsylvania is home to 8,900 dairy farm families who care for 561,000 cows that produce 10.5 billion pounds of milk annually, Wolff said.

Nationally, the state ranks fourth in milk production, third in butter production, sixth in cheese production and eighth in low-fat ice cream production, he said.

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