Cows in the United States: A Brief History
Did you know that the first cow arrived in the United States when settlers from the Jamestown colony brought cows with them in 1611? Since then, cows have become an important part of our agriculture in the United States, but they were once even a regular part of the family home. In fact, until the 1850s, nearly every family had its own cow for producing milk for the homestead.
Regular shipments of milk by railroad also begin in 1841, with shipments taking place between Orange County, New York and New York City. By 1856, Gail Borden had invented the condensed milk process, which removed water from the milk in order to take up less space. Refrigeration of milk did not occur until 1880 and the first pasteurizing machine wasn’t introduced until 1895.
Over the years, the process of dairying has improved greatly. In fact, just one of today’s cows can produce as much milk as it once took ten cows to produce! Nonetheless, it still takes more than 9 million cows and more than 100,000 farms throughout the United States to produce the amount of milk that is consumed. More than 99 percent of these farms are family owned and operated.