Updated Data Shows Dairy Industry Supports 3 Million+ Jobs

Learn what dairy does for the economy in your state.

Mark O'Keefe
Got Jobs?
3 min readSep 13, 2019


Dairy industry supports more than 3 million jobs.
The U.S. dairy industry supports more than 3 million jobs nationally.

The U.S. dairy industry has fresh data on jobs, tax revenue, GDP, exports and more showing how it fuels the economies of every state, coast-to-coast.

GotDairyJobs.com, a Medium publication, has new numbers and resources quantifying dairy’s economic ripple effect with granular national and state-by-state detail.

Learn how the dairy industry fuels the economy in your state by downloading its info bundle.

Three Washington-based dairy organizations created the portal in 2018 and decided to continue it through at least 2020, an election year in which trade and agricultural policy will be significant issues.

The portal includes updated dairy industry data for 2019 from Dairy Delivers®, the International Dairy Foods Association’s economic impact tool, state-by-state statistics on trade from the U.S. Dairy Export Council and analysis on the impact to farmers from the National Milk Producers Federation.

The economic argument the data makes for the dairy industry is three-fold

  1. U.S. Dairy creates jobs.
  2. Exports create more jobs.
  3. Free-trade agreements level the playing field for U.S. Dairy to generate more exports that create more jobs.

State Resources

Downloadable resources include:

  • Fact sheets showing dairy’s impact on the national economy and each of the 48 continental U.S. states.
  • Fact sheets quantifying dairy exports.
  • Videos like the one below about dairy’s top 10 jobs-generating states.

Nationwide Jobs Machine

In all, the portal shows how the dairy industry is a jobs machine affecting Americans coast-to-coast in ways they may find surprising:

For example, nationally the dairy industry deserves credit for:

  • Supporting more than 3 million jobs.
  • Generating $64 billion in tax revenue.
  • Contributing 3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Overall jobs slightly increase despite farm challenges

The past year has been another difficult one for dairy farmers facing low milk prices. An average of seven dairy farms are going out of business every day as the industry consolidates, according to NMPF.

Nonetheless, the overall number of jobs dairy supports increased from 2.9 million to 3 million, according to Dairy Delivers®. That can be explained by dairy’s powerful economic ripple effect adding employment for other industries such as retail and construction.

Other interesting findings from the updated Dairy Delivers℠ include:

  • The U.S. dairy products industry has an overall economic impact of nearly $620 billion.
  • California is the state with the most dairy-related jobs — 102,225 direct jobs and 313,826 indirect jobs, or a total of 416,051.
  • Wisconsin is the state with the highest gross domestic product attributed to dairy (17.8%).
  • The dairy industry provides $64.5 billion in tax revenue (state, local and federal combined).

California leads the way on exports

An analysis by the U.S. Dairy Export Council shows the economic impact of exports. California leads the way, supporting more than 12,000 jobs from dairy exports alone.

Nationally, dairy exports have increased more than six-fold since 1995, to $5.6 billion last year.

Continued U.S. success overseas requires a level playing field established by trade agreements. The dairy industry has been educating the public about the projected economic benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), awaiting congressional passage.

“Securing markets for Made-in-America agricultural products means increased economic opportunities for our dairy farmers, manufacturers and rural communities here at home,” USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack said at an appearance in his home state of Iowa.