California’s dairy industry, the largest in the nation, pumped $35.1 billion dollars into the state economy last year, according to a new study commissioned by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB).

The study also reported that the state’s dairy industry generated 257,800 full-time equivalent jobs last year, and contributed $47.3 billion to the national economy.

“The study results are particularly gratifying for California’s dairy farmers as it shows we are creating jobs and revenues here in California communities,” said Stan G. Andre, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board. “Based on milk sales within the state, each dollar in farm milk sales generates eight dollars in local economic activity, benefiting a range of Californians — from those growing feed for the cows to those working in cheese plants and supermarkets,” Andre added.

The study documents California’s emergence as a national force in the production of dairy products. Last year, California produced 20 percent of the nation’s milk and cheese. That number is projected to increase to as much as 30 percent within 10 years, according to the CMAB.

The study also forecasts continued growth for California’s dairy industry. It projects milk production will grow by 31 percent — to 45.8 billion pounds. Cheese production in the Golden State is projected to increase by 48 percent — to 2.5 billion pounds by 2012. At this growth rate, it’s likely California will overtake Wisconsin as the top-cheese-producing state by 2005, Andre noted.

California also is the leading producer of butter, ice cream, cottage cheese, nonfat dry milk and whey protein concentrate.

The study was conducted by J/D/G Consulting, an independent dairy industry research firm based in Chicago.

Business Wire