Even though Alabama continues to witness a sharp decline in the number of dairy operations, the state still benefits financially from dairy farms. Alabama’s dairy industry has a $25 million impact to the state’s economy and produced more than 185 million pounds of milk in 2011. The state has about 60 dairy herds of 10,800 cows, with an average production of 17,123 pounds of milk per cow. The average dairy herd size is 180 cows per dairy, and each cow provides an economic value of $14,400 to the state.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s State Dairy Committee continues to work to make dairying more profitable for those involved, as well as looking to recruit new dairy producers to the state.
Alabama is a deficit milk market, meaning it doesn’t produce enough milk to meet milk processing and consumption demands. Alabama produces less than 20 percent of the milk processed in the state with the balance coming from states like Texas and New Mexico. As transportation costs increase for bringing out-of-state milk to Alabama and other milk-deficit Southeastern states, it is feasible to assume that more dairy producers look to Alabama as a potential location for dairy expansion. A group of agricultural organizations are working hard to make this happen.
Those organizations engaged in the recruiting of dairies to Alabama are the:
- Alabama Farmers Federation
- Alabama Dairy Herd Improvement Association
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System
- Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries
- Dairy Farmers of America
The Alabama Dairy Producers works with other state and nonprofit organizations to promote the dairy industry, improve nutritional standards, promote education and support animal health research.