A new study shows that each $1 of farm milk sales in California generates $8 of local economic activity. That means the 2,107 dairy farms listed in the 2004 study generated $47.4 billion in economic activity within the state and created 434,200 full-time jobs.

The study was conducted by J/D/G Consulting, Inc., an independent research firm in Florida, for the California Milk Advisory Board. This study updates a 2002 study that pegged the economic impact of the state’s dairy industry at $35.1 billion.

The study predicts continued strong growth in the California dairy industry. In fact, the study projects that California milk production will increase 27 percent by 2015, and that cheese production will increase by 42 percent during the same time period.

Other highlights from the study that underscore the growth of the California industry include:

  • California's total milk production has increased every year since 1985 and reached 36.4 billion pounds in 2004.
  • Between 1985 and 2004, California cheese production increased four-fold and milk production has more than doubled.
  • The number of milk cows in California has increased from 1.041 million in 1985 to 1.725 million in 2004. During this same period, the national herd shrunk by nearly 2 million cows to 9.01 million.
  • During the past 18 years, cheese production in California has increased at an average annual rate of 9 percent, three times faster than overall U.S. cheese production.
  • California cheese production reached 1.99 billion pounds in 2004, double the 973 million pounds produced in 1995.
  • California's steady increase in cheese production reflects growing national demand. U.S. per capita cheese consumption increased by 39 percent from 1985 to 2004, growing from 22.5 pounds to 31.2 pounds, and is projected to reach 36.5 pounds by 2015.

  CaliforniaMilk Advisory Board, Business Wire