Widespread growth underway in dairy industry

The head of the International Dairy Foods Association estimates more than $7 billion in processing expansions are currently underway across the U.S.

During Monday’s Dairy Forum 2024, President and CEO Michael Dykes said nearly three-fourths of dairy CEOs in their annual survey say they plan to increase investments over the next three to five years.

“Look at these investments—cheese plants, aseptic, UF—we’re changing the products we’re making,” he says.  “We’re doing more ingredients, more fractionation of milk.  Dairy’s not declining. Dairy is growing. We’re simply eating more of our dairy than we are drinking.”

He says the industry needs to keep looking forward, with farmers and processors adopting a growth mindset.

“We have the most efficient dairy producers in the world, bar none,” he says. “We are seeing fewer farms, larger farms, more milk per cow. It’s amazing. We’re seeing vertical integration in our industry, we’re seeing consolidation and concentration in our industry, whether that’s good, whether that’s bad, but it is, and it will happen, and it will continue to happen.”

He says U.S. farmers are producing twice as much milk today with half as many cows as they were 60 years ago, and they will continue to improve efficiencies.

USDA is projecting milk production to increase by 20 billion pounds by 2030. Dykes says that will mean exports will need to move at least four percent more milk in the next six years.

Photo courtesy of IDFA.

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