With the government shutdown now over, we finally have answers to a question that is not pleasant to ask: how many Wisconsin dairy operations survived the difficult economic conditions of 2018? According to the state's agriculture department, there were 8,110 herds milking in Wisconsin during the first week of January. That's a drop of 691 since the same time a year earlier.
Clark County continues to hold the highest number of herds in the state with 782, followed by Marathon County with 494.
Florence and Milwaukee Counties each registered just one herd as of January 1, with Forest County losing its last remaining dairy farm during the past year.
Despite having less herds, the state's remaining dairy operations are still milking over 1.28 million head and producing a record amount of milk.
DATCP records show that 89 percent of state dairy operations are Grade A certified, with 11 percent licensed as Grade B.
Wisconsin has been keeping track of dairy farm numbers since 1950. At that time, the state had 143,000 dairy operations and accounted for about four percent of the nation's total dairy farms.