ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Dairy farmers across Wisconsin and the country continue to send a lot of milk to market. In December, Wisconsin's dairy herd produced 2.55 billion pounds-up 1% from last December and about 100 million pounds more than this past November. And that's with a thousand fewer cows than in November and 3,000 less than last December. But production per cow was up 25 pounds last month to 1,995 pounds per animal.
In the top 23 milk producing states, December milk output was 17 billion pounds-up just over 1% from a year earlier. The size of the herd last month was 8.74 million head with production per cow setting a new record for December at 1,943 pounds per cow-up 11 pounds from a year ago. The highest production per cow came from Colorado which checked in at 2,225 pounds per animal. California continues to be the number one milk producer with 3.37 billion pounds in December. But that follows of trend of lower production out there as that total is about 3 tenths of a percent below a year ago. Ranking third in milk production is New York, followed by Idaho with Texas in 5th place. All 3 of those states are now producing over 1 billion pounds of milk a month.
Another farm product we're not going to run out of is eggs. In December, the 382 million hens farmers had in their laying barns across the country, laid just over 9 billion-down about 11 million from a year ago. Iowa, by a big number, continues to lead the nation in egg production with over 1.3 billion in December. Wisconsin ranks 17th in egg production with our hens laying 171 million last month.
Reports out of Montreal say the North American Free Trade Agreement reorganization talks made a little progress yesterday thanks to a Canadian proposal. Observers to the talks say Canada introduced a plan for more American parts to be included in automobiles made and sold in the 3 countries. But they aren't yet prepared to go as far as President Trump wants on the issue. He wants the percentage of parts and technology built into light vehicles to go from the current 62 and a half percent all the way up to 85% with 50% of those parts being manufactured in the United States in order to be eligible for duty free trade. Canadian officials say they are willing to move that percentage up but not to 50%. Observers of the talks also said real progress has been made this week in areas like telecommunications, anticorruption and technical barriers to trade and those areas could be wrapped up this weekend.
The 2018 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer Award will be presented this weekend at the annual award celebration in Watertown. This will be the 65th year of the award and 2 of the finalists are from our area-Justin and Darci Daniels of Hixton and Mike Prochnow of Menomonie. The winner will be announced Saturday night. Last year's winners, Sam and Jenn Zimmerman of Ringle have been chosen as one of the top 10 finalists for the National Outstanding Young Farmer competition and they will travel to Sacramento, California next month for that award ceremony.