Real California Dairy Facts

2022_Fact Sheet_RC Dairy
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Real California Milk Facts

  • 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 and yogurt production. (CDFA)
  • California accounts for one-fifth of the United States’ milk production. In 2021, California produced 41.9 billion pounds of milk – more than one-fifth of the nation’s total production. (USDA)
  • 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 $7.57 billion cash receipts from milk production in 2021. (CDFA)
  • Approximately 46% of all of California milk goes to make California cheese. (CDFA)
  • Currently there are more than 1,100 California dairy farms, housing 1.72 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 24,354 pounds of milk in 2021. (USDA)
  • According to the USDA, the export value of California dairy and dairy products is $1.8 billion.
  • California’s fluid 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 fluid milk and dairy foods made with Real California Milk are available throughout California and across the U.S. Find products with the Real California Milk seal at a store near you with this locator tool: 

Real California Cheese Facts

  • California produced 2.4 billion pounds of cheese in 2021 and is the second-largest cheese-producing state in the U.S. (USDA)
  • California has more than 50 cheesemakers who produce over 250 different varieties and styles of cheese. 
  • Per capita cheese consumption has increased by more than eight pounds since 1990, more than 15 pounds since 1980, and more than 23 pounds since 1970. (USDA)
  • California leads the nation in Mozzarella production at more than 1.4 billion pounds in 2021. (USDA)
  • California also is the largest producer of Hispanic-style cheeses, producing over 153 million pounds in 2021. (USDA)
  • California produces more Monterey Jack than any other state. Monterey Jack is a “California Original,” a descendant of a type of cheese produced in the California missions more than 200 years ago. (CDFA)
  • California produces 100 types of spiced and flavored cheeses.