California's cheese production passed the 2 billion-pound mark for the first time in 2005, reaching a record 2.14 billion pounds.

A preliminary report by the state's Department of Food and Agriculture also notes that the state's cheese production grew 7.1% last year, nearly three times the rate of cheese production growth nationally.

Cheese production in California has more than doubled over the past decade, from 1.04 billion pounds in 1996. California milk production also reached a record high in 2005, totaling 37.5 billion lbs, according to CDFA. "California's dairy industry is one of the largest agricultural forces in the state and a growing supplier of dairy products nationwide," said Stan G. Andre, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board. "In 2004 alone, California's dairy business generated $47.4 billion in economic activity."