California Dairy Industry

A study released by the CMAB confirmed the dairy industry's positive impact on the state's economy, including job creation. In 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, the dairy industry created a total of 443,574 jobs in California, approximately 3 percent of the total overall job production for the year. The 2008 report shows that for every single “on-the-farm” job, 22 additional “beyond-the-farm” jobs are created. In fact, the dairy industry creates more California jobs and provides more economic stimulus to the state than either the iconic motion picture/television or wine industries.

Once again leading the nation in dairy production, California's dairy industry contributes $63 billion in economic activity to the state. In 2008 alone, California dairies also produced more than 41 billion pounds of milk — that's 21 percent of the nation's supply of this essential food group.

The analysis was conducted for the CMAB by J/D/G Consulting Inc., an independent dairy industry research firm based in Florida. The same study last conducted in 2007 showed California dairies created $61 billion in economic activity and 435,000 jobs for the state.

"This research offers perspective on how vital the dairy industry is to California with every dollar from sales of California milk contributing to the economy," said Stan G. Andre, chief executive officer of the CMAB. "In addition to providing the food that feeds our communities, a typical dairy cow generates more than $34,000 in economic activity, and a herd of 100 cows creates 25 jobs for California residents each year."

California Dairy Production Highlights
Following are highlights from the study, showing California's continued leadership in dairy production:

  • The California dairy industry created 443,574 jobs, accounting for approximately 3 percent of the jobs in the state. This is more than either the iconic California wine or motion picture/television industries.
  • California's dairy industry generated $63 billion in economic impact in 2008 as compared to $61.4 billion in 2007, a 2.6 percent increase overall.
  • The typical California dairy farm in 2008 generated $33.1 million in economic activity and produced 21,869,370 pounds of milk, an increase of more than 9 million pounds since 1998.*
  • The typical California cow in 2008 generated $34,165 of economic activity, and produced 22,344 pounds of milk.
  • California's total milk production has grown from 27.6 billion pounds in 1998 to 41.2 billion pounds in 2008.

*Note: Milk production is measured in pounds. One gallon of milk equals 8.6 pounds.

Note: Data includes gains over the last decade (1998-2007) and gains since the last report (2007).

Study Methodology
This analysis of the California dairy business by J/D/G Consulting Inc. relies on numerous sources of published data that measure various aspects of milk production, dairy product production, dairy food distribution, grocery retailing and foodservice businesses. It also uses economic output, earnings and employment multipliers developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). BEA-developed multipliers are provided for a host of industries, including milk production/dairy farming and dairy processing/manufacturing for each state.

Click here to download image CMAB Economic Impact (PDF)