PA Dairy Overview

Pennsylvania is ranked 8th in total milk production nationally, with the Commonwealth’s 468,000 cows producing nearly 10 billion pounds of milk annually. The state’s annual milk production per cow is 21,259 pounds – or about 2,501 gallons – per cow. At 5,000 dairies, the state has the second largest number of dairy farms nationally, having more dairy farms than every other state except Wisconsin.

Trends in Pennsylvania’s dairy industry:

  • The number of Pennsylvania dairy farms is declining. Currently, 4,940 dairy farms are located in Pennsylvania. This represents 17.4 percent of all dairy farms across the nation. Pennsylvania’s average herd size is about 94 cows, and 99 percent of all dairy farms in Pennsylvania are family owned.
  • The number of cows in Pennsylvania continues to decrease. Cow numbers in 2022 averaged 468,000, -1.3% or 6,000 cows less than 2021. The dairy herd in the Commonwealth has been decreasing steadily for many years. In the last 10 years, the state’s herd size has shrunk 12% or by 65,000 head.
  • Milk per cow in 2022 decreased slightly. After multiple years of increased milk cow efficiency, milk production per cow dipped slightly during 2022. The average Keystone State dairy cow produced 21,259 pounds of milk (2,501 gallons). This is a decline of 79 pounds compared to 2021. The general trend over the last 10 years has been for increased milk production per cow. Since 2013, milk production per cow has increased 4% or 820 pounds (96.5 gallons).
  • The state’s total milk production decreased for the second consecutive year. Unfortunately, during 2022, a decrease in the state’s herd size was compounded by reduced productivity resulting in less total production. A total of 9.949 billion pounds of milk were produced across the Commonwealth. This is down 1.6%, or about 165 million pounds compared to 2021.
  • Opportunities for growth exist in this region. Pennsylvania is located within a day’s drive of more than 50 percent of the population in North America and Canada. With abundant water, access to both domestic markets and international seaports, and a strong dairy infrastructure, Pennsylvania is well positioned for growth. However, finding incentives for companies to invest in Pennsylvania’s dairy infrastructure remains essential.

Creating a more favorable environment for Pennsylvania’s dairy farms will be critical to the industry’s ability to grow and meet increasing dairy demand, both domestically and across the seas.

Click here to view a visual snapshot of the economic benefits of Pennsylvania dairy.

To learn more about how to better support Pennsylvania’s dairy farms, contact the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or email