IDFA continues to demonstrate that the dairy industry has a powerful economic impact – $628 billion in total – on the American economy. Did you know that dairy also indirectly supports unique industries across the nation, like railroads?

Even before the golden spike was driven in at Promontory Summit in 1869, railroads were linking parts of the country and bringing dairy products from rural producers to urban consumers. Today, dairy companies, distributors and retailers still support American rail workers in a number of ways. 

Nearly 4,600 jobs at railroad companies depend on spending by the dairy industry or dairy industry employees. This number includes almost 3,825 rail jobs that result from dairy manufacturers moving products like milk, ice cream and cheese to wholesalers, retailers or even consumers. These jobs are the result of purchases directly paid for by dairy companies.

Nearly 760 additional rail jobs result from dairy employees and supplier employees purchasing passenger- or freight-rail services to move households, transport purchases of large products or simply to visit family in locations across the country. 

All told, the dairy industry creates almost $572.0 million in wages and nearly $1.89 billion in economic impact for American railroad operators.

Dairy Delivers®

IDFA is sharing these deep dives into the data of Dairy Delivers®, its economic impact tool, to demonstrate dairy’s economic power and its ripple effect on other American industries.

Members with questions may contact Dave Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy, at