Don't tell anyone from Wisconsin, but it's a little known fact that California is the country's leading dairy state. Wisconsin Cheeseheads still corner the market on cheese production, but California is the leading producer of milk, butter, and ice cream.
F M Ranch in Tipton, California, resides in Tulare, the largest dairy county in the United States. The county produces almost a third of California's milk. If Tulare were a state, it would rank in the top five milk-producing states in the U.S.
F M Ranch milks 7,000 cows on its seven dairies. It produces milk for three different co-ops ? Land O'Lakes®, California Dairies Inc., and Dairy Farmers of America. The milk is used mainly to produce cheese and butter.
"I love what I do," says owner Frank Mendonsa. "I love being with the animals and having my family involved with the business. It's hard a lot of the time. In fact, we're struggling right now in California, with low milk prices and all. But I'm optimistic things will get better."