Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

California’s dairy industry delivers $61 billion economic impact, remains No. 1

00:00AM Sep 09, 2008
California's got milk. Big time.
Its dairy industry generated $61.4 billion in economic activity in the state and produced a record 41 billion pounds of milk during 2007, according to a study released today by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB).
Those numbers reflect a 30-percent increase in economic growth and a nearly 12 percent rise in milk production since 2004, even with recent higher costs of doing business.
The industry's growth helped California maintain its position as the top dairy producing state. The trend is expected to continue, with the Golden State's milk production projected to exceed 55 billion pounds by 2020, CMAB said.
"The dairy industry continues to have a significant impact on the state's economy, with a $14 billion increase in economic activity since 2004,” said Stan G. Andre, CMAB's chief executive officer. "In the face of rising costs and stricter regulations, we remain one of the largest agriculture forces in the state as dairy demand and consumption continue to increase.”
Also reported in the study:
  • California's dairy industry created an estimated nearly 435,000 full-time jobs in 2007.
  • California had 1,960 dairies in 2007 with 1.8 million dairy cows that supplied milk to 120 dairy processing plants, which produced cheese, fluid milk, ice cream, butter and other dairy products.
  • California's total milk production nearly doubled in the last decade, growing from 27.6 billion pounds in 1998 to 40.7 billion pounds in 2007.
  • The average California dairy produces 20,756,633 pounds of milk, an increase of more than 8 million pounds since 1998.
  • Butter production increased to nearly 499 million pounds in 2007, up 29% since 2004.
  • Cheese production increased to 2.3 billion pounds in 2007, up nearly 15% from 2004.  
The study was conducted for CMAB by J/D/G Consulting Inc., an independent dairy industry research firm based in Florida that conducted the last study in 2004. Previous data from 2004 placed the dairy industry's economic impact on California at $47.4 billion.
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at