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U.S. dairy industry poised to grow

Milk demand is projected to grow by 21% globally between 2020 and 2030, according to Matt Daley, president of GEA Farm Technologies.

And he believes much of that demand could be met by U.S. dairy farmers.

“With more people, more dairy is consumed,” Daley said this month at the Agricultural Bankers Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. “What’s amazing is we’re doing it with fewer cows.


“A dairy cow in the U.S. produces two to three times more milk because there’s more sunshine and greater access to grains [than other parts of the world].”

The world population reached an estimated 8 billion people as of Nov. 15, a new milestone in human development. The rising population and a growing middle class in some areas likely will drive increased demand for dairy products.

But with tighter environmental regulations in Europe, dairy output could actually decrease in that part of the world. Daley believes dairy expansion is also unlikely in New Zealand.

“Who’s slated around the world to produce more milk? It’s us in the U.S.,” he said.

Technology and automation will be critical for U.S. farmers to continue to boost milk output with fewer cows. GEA manufactures about 25% of robotic milking technology in North America, according to Daley.

“As long as we can expand processing capabilities, we’ll produce more milk, because the world needs it,” he said. “As labor continues to get tighter, more automation will come.”

GEA is quoting plans for new dairy plants in Nebraska, Kentucky and Georgia and three new whey distilleries are going up in the U.S.

DEA is also building more concentration facilities, which separate the milk and can lower shipping costs by 70%.

A strong appetite for dairy also is driving local demand, which bodes well for small dairies looking for niche markets.

“The last four or five years, we’ve never put in so many small cheese plants,” Daley said. “The craft cheese industry is booming. A lot of dairy farmers are making their own cheese and selling it locally.”

If you’ve never heard of DEA Farm Technologies, chances are you’ve eaten food produced with its technology or at a plant it built. DEA is one of the world’s largest system suppliers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors.

“We do food on a small and massive scale,” Daley said. “Every third chicken nugget in the world is produced with GEA technology. If you eat cheese, GEA technology likely sliced it and put it in the package.”

About a quarter of processed milk in the world comes from GEA or is processed with its equipment.

• Daniel Grant writes for FarmWeek. This story was distributed through a cooperative project between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association. For more food and farming news, visit

By Daniel Grant

January 06, 2023



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