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Amish Dairy Farms in Southwestern Wisconsin
Research Reports No. 17, October 2006
by Caroline Brock, Bradford Barham, and Jeremy Foltz

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The state of Wisconsin ranks second in the nation in terms of the number of Amish church settlements. Much of the growth in Amish settlements (from one to at least 35) has occurred in the past 50 years. A key activity of the Amish in Wisconsin is farming and 80% of Amish farms have dairy herds. Amish farmers operate five percent of the dairy farms (over 860 farms as of 2002) in Wisconsin and if Amish farm growth continues, Amish dairy farms will likely rise to over ten percent of the state’s dairy farms by 2009. Because their herd and farm sizes are much smaller than other dairy farms, Amish milk production and acres operated comprise only about one percent of the total Wisconsin dairy sector. Amish dairy farms are, however, a unique and important component of the Wisconsin farm landscape for numerous other reasons. This report focuses on Amish producers who are members of Old Country Cheese, an Amish dairy cooperative, based in Cashton, Wisconsin which has over 230 farm households.

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