Milk goes from farm to grocery store in about 48 hours 365 days a year.

That’s fresh!

Read on to learn more about each step of milk’s journey from the farm to your table.

Watch milk’s journey from cow to cup:

On the Farm

Dairy farmers make sure milk is safe and nutritious every day and that process starts at the farm. Dairy farmers, often for generations, live on the farm striving to be good stewards of their land.

“It’s important to us to preserve this environment because we make our living off a healthy environment,” says Mike McMahon, the owner of E-Z Acres LLC.

McMahon explains that making milk starts with growing crops, which are fertilized with cow manure. The cycle is completed when the cows eat the very crops they helped to fertilize.

Farmers use a variety of technologies to maintain and improve the land they use to grow cow feed, including no-till farming, buffer strips, GPS-assisted crop planting, and more.

pasture cows
Crane shot of a cow barn

In the Barn

Cows need to be cared for to stay content and healthy – and produce great milk. Whether a farm is big or small, the cows and land are well cared for. Cows are regularly checked by veterinarians, given fresh water and healthy food daily, and they’re given shelter in the cold and hot weather.


Tanker trucks pick milk up at the dairy farm – for some farms, this is multiple times each day. Some milk haulers use electronic devices to automatically know when a dairy farm has a full tanker of milk ready so they can maximize their trips and be as environmentally friendly as possible.

The milk is tested for safety and quality on the farm and again at the dairy processing plant to ensure every tanker truck of milk is safe and pure.

red barn with a milk truck in front of it
person in protective gear for processing milk

Milk Processing

Strict quality controls at every step of processing ensure freshness, purity, and great taste. Human hands never touch the milk and strict temperature rules must be followed.

Once at the processing plant, milk is pasteurized, homogenized, and bottled or turned into cheese, yogurt or another delicious dairy product.

The Grocery Store

Grocery stores are an important part of keeping milk fresh and at a safe temperature. They keep product cold and stocked so you can bring it home to your family.

Whether you choose skim or whole milk, yogurt or cheese, your milk comes from a good place and you can feel good about the 13 essential nutrients it provides – as well as the care the farmer puts into the cows and planet.

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