The dairy foods industry today directly employs more than 977,700 workers, pays $39.46 billion in wages and contributes more than $206.89 billion to the national economy, according to a powerful new economic impact tool commissioned by IDFA.

To support its policy positions with members of Congress, the White House and federal regulators, IDFA is using the interactive economic impact tool to show the economic stimulus provided nationally and locally by dairy foods companies and their suppliers. It shows, for example, that the dairy foods industry supported nearly 3 million jobs and accounted for 1.09 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) from farm to table.

“IDFA wanted a strong, visual way to demonstrate that the U.S. dairy products industry is a powerful economic driver locally and nationally,” said Dave Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy. “With negotiations underway on the farm bill, trade agreements and regulatory reform, the timing was right to consolidate industry data and capture this snapshot of our industry that would speak for us on the significant economic clout our members have.”


IDFA engaged John Dunham and Associates, a leading economic research firm, to measure the dairy processing sector’s impact on a national level, by state and by congressional district. This comprehensive tool allows users to see the economic impact of jobs, wages, taxes and overall economic impact generated directly by dairy plants and companies, as well as the multiplier effect of these investments across the supply chain. 

The tool also can provide members with customized data that can be used to support a legislative agenda, quantify the contribution a production facility adds to a local community, analyze locations for a new plant and obtain economic development grants.

For more information on the economic impact tool or to explore additional ways a member can customize the data, contact Carlin at