Sunday, June 23, 2013

June is Dairy Month -- Dairy Farming Huge Boost to the State's Economy

With the dairy industry, New York state would be hurting financially.

A Cornell University study on the economic impact of dairy states direct cash receipts on New York milk alone were $2.2 billion -- Yes that's BILLION with a B -- in 2010. Another 81 cents for each dollar goes out into the local community. That computes to $1.782 billion in the state economy just for milk sales.

The Cornell study states more money is made for the state through dairy processing plants and manufacturers. Another $2.26 for each dollar generated by milk cash receipts pumps another $4.972 into the state's economy.

Dairy farming and processing combined impacts the state economy to the tune of $8.9 billion. Not shabby.

Also, the Cornell study states 1.24 jobs are created for every one job on a dairy farm.

In addition to the money pumped into the economy, dairy also generates money in other ways. Steve Ammerman, public affairs director for New York Farm Bureau, said dairy farmers are creating more economic opportunities by agri-tourism, selling their own dairy products made on the farm and simply adding to the beauty of the state's open land that tourists and others love to see.

"Dairy farms are a great economic driver in their communities because it has been shown time and time again that the money earned mainly stays local," Ammerman said. "Not only in terms of wages they pay their employees, but also in spinoff spending. Farmers rely on local suppliers for seed, equipment, repair work, fertilizer and other services and products they need on the farm."

"We are also seeing farms selling valued-added products like cheese and ice cream with milk that originates from their farms," Ammerman said. "This can bring in additional tourism for people who come from the outside of the community to purchase products at farm markets and local stores."

Ammerman added farmers also pay taxes, which support local schools, roads and services. "For every dollar they pay in local taxes, they receive only a quarter of that back in services," he said. "While homeowners get back more than a dollar in services. Without the productive farms in rural areas, taxes would be higher for the rest of the residents."

Ammeriman also said "dairy farms help preserve open space and prevent it from being developed. Once it is lost to a parking lot or housing development, that farm land is gone forever along with the land's ability to produce local food. ... That is something worth investing in."

Nationally, about 97 percent of all dairy farms are family owned with an average herd size of 115 cows. According to Dairy Management Inc. and the National Milk Producers Federation, a dollar's worth of milk generates $3 in economic activity and every $1 million of U.S. milk sales generates 17 jobs.

The U.S. dairy industry is estimated at $140 billion in economic output, $29 billion in household earnings and more than 900,000 jobs.

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