Wisconsin's dairy herd stays steady; farms' size increases

It takes cows to be the nation’s No. 1 producer of cheese, and the No. 2 producer of milk. Lots of them. While the number of producing dairy cows in the state has stayed relatively flat — around 1.25 million — the average size of herds is getting larger as some farms are expanding to position their operations to stay competitive in the state’s $26 billion dairy industry.

Others, however, have raised concerns about the toll larger operations can have on the country side and local economies. The trend, and the concerns, have been a long-running point of discussion both in the state and the wider agricultural industry.

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