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Study shows dairy industry contributes $21 billion to states economy
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In a study released by the California Milk Advisory Board and the University of California Agriculture Issues Center, the dairy industry was found to have contributed approximately $21 billion to the states economy last year. - photo by Journal file photo

For most Californians, the time spent thinking about the importance of the dairy industry throughout the state often equates to less than the amount of time spent pouring milk into a bowl of cereal.


However, California Milk Advisory Board’s new study, which was conducted by the University of California Agriculture Issues Center, is guaranteed to make consumers stop and foster a growing appreciation for the industry, since it was revealed to have contributed approximately $21 billion to the state’s economy in 2014.


Included in the $21 billion to California’s economy is $7.4 billion that represents income to industry workers and owners, as well as $13.4 billion through related, outside industries. The tax revenue resulting from these jobs benefitted many statewide initiatives, including improving K-12 education, health care, roads, community services, and the environment.


When combined with the related economic activity, including the contribution of dairy production and processing, California Milk Advisory Board CEO John Talbot pointed out that the overall ripple effect of the dairy industry was $65 billion last year.


“It’s important for Californians to understand the significant part California dairy families play not only in their own communities, but in contributing to the state’s economy and the overall health of the state and nation by supplying nutritious dairy foods,” said Talbot.


“This study demonstrates California dairy’s continued role in providing significant economic value to the state in both gross state product and employment,” continued Talbot.


Just last year, farm milk sales created $9.4 billion gross revenue and the sale of wholesale dairy products, including cheese, fluid milk, ice, cream, and butter, generated $25 billion.


California is the country’s leading producer of fluid milk, butter, ice cream, nonfat dry milk, and whey protein concentrate, as well as the second largest producer of cheese and yogurt.


Approximately 189,000 jobs depend on the California dairy industry, including 55,000 milk production and processing jobs. Additionally, for every “on the farm job,” there are six more jobs outside of the farm.


According to the study, this can be broken down to 50,000 jobs directly provided by the dairy industry and another 139,000 created indirectly through other industries.


“The dairy industry’s contributions are vital to California’s economy, from creating jobs to stimulating local and regional economies to providing nutritious and enjoyable products to consumers everywhere,” said Talbot. “A large number of California residents depend on the dairy industry for employment and these jobs would not exist without it.”


“Overall, these findings demonstrate that the health of the California dairy industry is a critical part of California’s economy,” concluded Talbot.