How Important is the Milk and Dairy Industry to the US Economy?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Dianne Feinstein, Senator for the State of California, stated on her website in an Apr. 4, 2006 article titled "Senator Feinstein Co-Chairs Newly Formed Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus" that:

"As a Senator from the nation's number one dairy state, I know how important dairy issues are to California and to the nation. I look forward to working with my colleagues on issues important to our dairy farmers as we work on the next Farm Bill.

The milk produced by America's 65,000 dairy farmers represents the second largest agricultural commodity industry in the United States by value. Milk accounted for about $27 billion of cash receipts for producers in 2005. Americans drink more than 6 billion gallons of milk per year, and another 10 billion gallons of milk are used to produce cheese."

Apr. 4, 2006 - Dianne Feinstein 

The Fluid Milk Promotion Act of 1990, passed in 1990 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), stated:

"(3) the dairy industry plays a significant role in the economy of the United States, in that milk is produced by thousands of milk producers and dairy products (including fluid milk products) are consumed every day by millions of people in the United States...

(5) the maintenance and expansion of markets for fluid milk products are vital to the Nation's fluid milk processors and milk producers, as well as to the general economy of the United States."

1990 - 1990 Fluid Milk Promotion Act (105KB)  

The U.S. Department of State wrote in its 2006 report "USA Economy in Brief," that:

"Production of goods accounted for 19.8 percent of GDP: manufacturing-such as computers, autos, aircraft, machinery-12.1 percent; construction, 4.9 percent; oil and gas drilling and other mining, 1.9 percent; agriculture, less than 1 percent.

Even though agriculture now has a small share of GDP, farmers remain economically and politically powerful forces. In 2002 the market value of U.S. farm production amounted to more than $200 billion…$20 billion [of that is] for milk and other dairy products."

2006 - United States Department of State 
USA Economy in Brief (3,843KB)  

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 1995 economic research service report "Background for 1995 Farm Legislation," stated that:

"Cash receipts from milk marketings totaled $19.3 billion in 1993, ranking milk third in value among all U.S. agricultural commodities.

Milk products are also an important part of food industry receipts. Consumers spend about 13 percent of their food budget on milk and dairy products. Food expenditures comprise about 12 percent of disposable personal income."

Apr. 1995 - United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
Background for 1995 Farm Legislation (3.44MB)  

Dairy Farming Today, an organization that provides information about dairy production, published a fact sheet on its website (accessed Aug. 21, 2007), titled "The U.S. Dairy Industry A Vital Contributor To Economic Development," that stated:

"America's dairy industry is an important contributor to our nation's overall economy.

Dairy is the number one agricultural business in California, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Vermont, and Maine. In California alone, dairy is a $31 billion industry employing 400,000-plus people.

Dairies create a ripple effect on both the agricultural economy and the economic well-being of rural America. When a dairy farmer spends money locally, it creates a multiplier effect of more than two and a half times the original dollar spent."

Aug. 21, 2007 - Dairy Farming Today