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United States Department of Agriculture
National Agricultural Statistics Service

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  Dairy Products

The purpose of the Dairy Products survey is to provide information to help administer price support programs and by the dairy industry in planning, pricing, and projecting supplies of milk and milk products.

The Dairy Products survey is a national program conducted monthly in all states. The scope of the survey includes over 1,000 cheese plants, butter plants, ice cream plants, and other facilities that commercially produce manufactured dairy products.


To ensure complete coverage of all uses of milk, statistics are collected on all manufactured dairy products. The production of these products is converted to a butterfat and nonfat solids basis to account for all methods of sales of milk and components. Data are available in our monthly Dairy Products report released at the beginning of each month..

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Program Content

Dairy products statistics are collected monthly and used by USDA to establish estimates of stocks, shipments, prices received, and production for an entire month for such products as butter, cheese, dry whey, ice cream, and nonfat dry milk. Information on production of all other manufactured dairy products is collected, including water ices and condensed/evaporated milk products.



Uses of statistical information are extensive and varied. Production is an important aspect of price discovery for all products, including butter, cheese, and dry milk, which are purchased at support levels by the Agricultural Marketing Service. Producers use the information to determine production and marketing strategies. Producer organizations, financial institutions, traders, national policymakers, and foreign buyers and sellers are other important data users. Economists, analysts, and researchers interpret production data to project past and future trends, and determine the economic and social implications. State policymakers review the data to compare state trends and determine statewide policies affecting manufactured dairy production.



The survey is conducted monthly. However, some producers are only able to report annually or semi-annually, depending on production cycles. Those facilities that report monthly are not required to report again on the annual survey. Facilities storing nonfat dry milk or human grade dry whey are required to report monthly.



The Dairy Products survey universe is all facilities in the United States which produce dairy products commercially. Data collection for the reference month begins around the third week of the following month because of the time needed for accounting to be completed by the facilities. Mail is the primary method of data collection due to the level of detailed information needed. Telephone contacts are made to encourage response.


Related Programs

Dairy Products Prices
Cold Storage
Milk Production



Last modified: 12/01/09