About dairy farming

Indiana is home to more than 800 dairy farms of all shapes and sizes that together provide a home for over 174,000 dairy cows. The average farm has 140 cows and over 97 percent of dairy farms here and around the country are family owned.

Many Indiana dairy farms are multi-generational, with immediate and extended family all working together to make sure the cows are happy and comfortable. Dairy farming is hard work — farmers must milk each and every cow two to three times a day, every day (including holidays)! Many dairy farmers begin work at three or four in the morning, and don’t finish until the sun goes down.

Dairy farmers work with nutritionists and veterinarians to make sure their cows are getting a balanced diet and are healthy. Many Indiana dairy farmers also grow corn, soybeans, and hay to feed to their cows, and use their cows’ manure to fertilize the fields. This allows them to be environmentally friendly by recycling the cows’ waste and reducing their need to use chemical fertilizer.

To meet some Indiana farmers and see pictures of their farms, visit our Meet Indiana Dairy Farmers page.