Udderly Fascinating Dairy Facts

Wisconsin is aptly nicknamed America’s Dairyland due to its abundance of dairy farms, which produce some of the finest quality milk, cheeses, and ice creams on earth. Over the years, the dairy industry has positively impacted the economy by feeding families and communities across the state and nation — and even around the world.

Here are some udderly fascinating and fun facts about dairy farming and products that will have you craving something delicious!

Farm and Dairy Facts


  • It takes approximately 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese.
  • Wisconsin produces more than 600 varieties of artisan cheese — twice the amount of any other state.
  • There are 1,200 licensed cheesemakers in the Badger State. Wisconsin is the only state that requires a cheesemaking license.
  • Wisconsin is also home to the only Master Cheesemaker program in the U.S. It takes more than 13 years to become a Master Cheesemaker — longer than it does to become a PhD.
  • 48% of all specialty cheeses made in the U.S. comes from Wisconsin.
  • There are more than 100 cheese factories and creameries in Wisconsin.
  • Eating cheese is good for your teeth! Chewing cheese promotes the flow of saliva, eliminating sugar and acids from the mouth.
  • The average American eats 23 pounds of cheese in a year


  • Wisconsin ranks #2 in milk production, generating 2.4 billion pounds of milk every month.
  • The average dairy cow produces 6.3 gallons of milk per day and about 350,000 glasses of milk in a lifetime.
  • Milk’s white color is due to its fat content. Milk is composed of 87% water, but the fat and protein molecules reflect every light wavelength, giving its iconic white appearance.
  • The average American consumes 25 gallons of milk a year.
  • Milk is rich in essential nutrients including calcium, protein, and vitamin D.
  • In 1611, the first cow arrived in America in Jamestown. Nearly every American family had its own cow up until the 1850s.
  • Milk typically arrives at local grocery stores within 48 hours of leaving the farm.


  • It takes 10 liters (20 pints) of milk to make a pound of butter.
  • Butter contains lots of vitamin A, plus calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins D and E.
  • Butter has a melting temperature of 98.6°F, which is the same temperature as the inside of a human mouth.
  • The earliest butter is believed to have been made from sheep or goat’s milk, as cattle weren’t domesticated for thousands more years.
  • Butter factories appeared in America in the 1860s.

Ice Cream

  • It takes about 12 pounds (3 gallons) of milk to produce a gallon of ice cream.
  • The most popular ice cream flavor in the world is vanilla, followed by chocolate.
  • Around 90% of Americans have ice cream in their freezers at this very moment.
  • The average American eats around 45 pints of ice cream annually.
  • Experts believe 8°F to 10°F is the ideal temperature for scooping ice cream.

Dairy Farming

  • Wisconsin is home to over 700 registered dairy farms, which contribute to half of the state’s $104.8 billion agriculture economy.
  • Wisconsin has more than 6,450 licensed dairy herds.
  • The average Wisconsin dairy farm has 197 cows. There are 1.27 million dairy cows throughout the state.
  • 97% of dairy farms in the U.S. are family-owned and operated.
  • U.S. dairy farms contribute nearly $37.2 billion to the nation’s economy.
  • The U.S dairy industry accounts for more than 900,000 of the country’s jobs.

Rural Mutual understands farming’s impressive impact on the state of Wisconsin. We offer a full line of insurance products, including farm, auto, business, home, renters, and life. Contact your local Rural Mutual agent today to learn how to keep your land, equipment, animals, crops, and buildings safe year-round.