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South Dakota Making More Milk with More Cows

Under Donald Trump, South Dakota dairy farmers are squeezing more teats. A new release from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service says that South Dakota had more cows and more milk in August:

Milk production in South Dakota during August 2018 totaled 232 million pounds, up 3 percent from August 2017, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 121,000 head, 3,000 head more than August 2017. Milk production per cow averaged 1,915 pounds [USDA NASS, “South Dakota Milk Production,” 2018.09.19].

Nationwide, we’ve been squeezing more milk out of our dairy herd every month this year compared to last:

USDA NASS, "Milk Production," 2018.09.19
USDA NASS, “Milk Production,” 2018.09.19

South Dakota ties with Oregon for the 18th-largest dairy herd in the U.S. But since we get more milk per cow than Oregon and Ohio (we’re 12th in milk per cow), we rank 17th in overall milk production.


  1. mike from iowa 2018-09-20

    Can someone explain the glut of milk and why, with a glut of milk, butter prices are staying at record high prices?

    No one seems to know why egg prices fluctuate so much, but don’t come down all that much. I’m guessing Drumpf is cooking up another trade war and has buttercows and chickens considerably concerned.

  2. Porter Lansing 2018-09-20

    Oregon and SoDak have equal milk production. Oregon makes socialist Co-Op Tillamook cheese products hailed worldwide as top shelf. SD makes low tier, crappy mozzarella cheese for low tier frozen and take-out pizza.
    Do SD schools teach that socialism is conservative economics? Why not? Socialism isn’t giving away free stuff. (That’s right wing propaganda left over from 60 years ago.) Socialism is getting the best price for necessities. That’s what we fiscal conservatives live by, isn’t it?
    Oregon’s socialist Co-Op milk to cheese program (since 1909) is more profitable for the farmers and the state. Tillamook posted $654 million in sales in 2015.
    Socialism Isn’t Communism. Teach your children well!!

  3. Porter Lansing 2018-09-20

    Actually, SoDak has a bit higher milk production. Why does the cheese have no taste?

  4. chris 2018-09-20

    This pizza cheese is a waste. Chobani yogurt should move here.

  5. Porter Lansing 2018-09-20

    PS … the production of low grade, low milkfat Mozzarella cheese is polluting the South Dakota natural resource with the highest growth and profit potential over the next 50 years aka The Sioux River.

  6. grudznick 2018-09-20

    Could this be attributed to the huge influx of Colorado-born goats into South Dakota? Is goat milk included?

  7. OldSarg 2018-09-20

    A friend of mine just east of the base raises goats. Goat makes the best fajitas. I tried the cheese but it was over salted. Tried it again and it reminded me of feta.

    Those dang things. Open a small gate and for some reason the whole bunch of them have to pass through the gate at the same time you are trying to get through. A few years ago (like 30) I was on a farm up in Cando ND. They had big goats. Like their back was up to the bottom of my chest. I looked out the window and there was one standing on top on my TransAm. Still had the hooves dents when I sold it about 6 years later.

  8. jerry 2018-09-20

    Canada gets it on why trump is so obsessed with their milk subsidy. They know that trump wants to dump this excess crap on the Canadian markets. We do not need more milk, we need less of it and we need to process it like Europe does so it does not require refrigeration until opened.

    Milk, it’s a huge unnecessary waste.

  9. Francie Ganje 2018-09-21

    My tax dollars at work.

  10. jerry 2018-09-21

    In North Carolina, they just passed a law that says you cannot call “milk” anything that did not come from a hoofed animal. No soy___, no almond______. Only pollution filled commercial milk can be called milk. Freedom once again for corporate greed.

    “”Senate Bill 711, also known as the North Carolina Farm Act of 2018, made the state the first to implement a law that would prohibit the use of the term “milk” for non-dairy products. Only beverages that come from “hoofed animals” will be able to use the magic word. If 11 other states that comprise the Southern Dairy Compact agree to adopt similar policies, the law will go into effect across much of the south. Currently, 15 state agriculture departments support the bill, including West Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Common milk alternatives such as almond, soy and coconut would no longer be allowed to use “milk” in their labeling and be sold in states where the law is in effect.” Milk producers think everyone is so stupid that they do not know that soy milk is not from a cow. That puts soy producing farmers at odds with milk producing farmers. More wars of division that are unnecessary

  11. jerry 2018-09-21

    Good one! The dairy industry has become just another corrupted business plan in America. They do not want competition, they only want someone to take a product from them that they know full well is not necessary. We do not need more cheese and we certainly do not need any more milk. No one wants our milk because it is not safe. You cannot get American milk in Europe or many of our other allies. American milk will make you sick. Buy American dairy farmers out and give them an opportunity to grow something besides waste, is what the government should do.

  12. mike from iowa 2018-09-22

    OldSwampcritter is full of it. Goats can’t cook. Moar lies from that guy.

  13. Debbo 2018-09-22

    Actually Jerry, you’d be surprised how ignorant some folks are about where their food comes from.

    Couple years ago at the Minnesota State Fair I listened to a 20 something man complaining to his friend because he wanted a photo of himself standing beside a real, honest-to-god cow, but he couldn’t find any. We were standing in an aisle of the Cattle Barn.

    He didn’t know there is any connection between the word “cattle” and “cow.” We were surrounded by beef cattle, but the only thing he recognized as “cow” was Holsteins based on tv ads. That ignorance is not rare among urban folks.

    I find myself doing A Lot of educating my urban friends and they are happy to learn.

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