Skip to navigation.

Real California Milk Facts

Open as a PDF (right click to save)

  • California has been the nation’s leading dairy state since 1993, when it surpassed Wisconsin in milk production. California is ranked first in the U.S. in the production of milk, butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk. California is second in cheese production. (CDFA)
  • California accounts for 19% of the United States’ milk production. In 2016, California produced 40.4 billion pounds of milk – more than one-fifth of the nation’s total production. (CDFA)
  • Milk production per cow in California has increased 55.1 percent from 1986 to 2016. (CDFA)
  • Dairy farming is a leading agricultural commodity in California, producing $6.2 billion cash receipts from milk production in 2016. (CDFA)
  • Approximately 46% of all of California milk goes to make California cheese. (CDFA)
  • Currently there are more than 1,300 California dairy families, whose farms house 1.74 million milk cows. Approximately one out of every five dairy cows in the U.S. lives in California. (CDFA)
  • The average California dairy cow produced 22,968 pounds of milk in 2016. (CDFA)
  • According to the most recent data, around 33 percent of the total U.S. exports of dairy products are coming from California in 2015. (CMAB)
  • California’s milk standards exceed federal standards because California processors add nonfat milk solids which offer improved taste and nutritional benefits. California milk exceeds the federal guidelines for the amounts of calcium and protein in each serving.
  • Real California Milk can be found at retailers such as Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, Target, 7-Eleven, Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Stater Bros., Food 4 Less, Superior Grocers, Lucky, Longs Drugs, Nugget and O’Brien’s. For a comprehensive list of retailers, visit
  • In 2016, Tulare County was the highest milk producer in California, with more than 27% of the state’s milk production. (CDFA)
  • In 2016, Merced County was ranked #2 in total milk production in California, with an increase of more than 15% in the past year. (CDFA)