Latest Economic Report Shows Industry Supports 3.3 Million Jobs

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2021—The U.S. dairy industry continues to play a strong role in the U.S., supporting 3.3 million total jobs and $41.6 billion in direct wages, according to the latest economic impact report from the International Dairy Foods Association.

IDFA’s 2021 Economic Impact Study, which measures the combined impact of the dairy products industry, showed the U.S. dairy industry’s economic impact totaled $752.93 billion.

The newly released figures indicate that the U.S. dairy industry now contributes:

  • 3.5 percent of U.S. GDP
  • 3.3 million total jobs
  • $41.6 billion in direct wages for workers in dairy industry
  • $67.1 billion in federal, state and local taxes (not including sales taxes paid by consumers)

For the first time, the total value of exports was included in the study, revealing the U.S. dairy industry is responsible for a total of $6.5 billion in exported goods and reinforces the importance of fair international trade agreements for the industry.

“Every dairy company knows that dairy products offer significant benefits that go beyond improving consumers’ health, and our latest economic impact study provides specific numbers that reinforce just how true that is,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “Whether it's milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, or dairy-derived ingredients, American dairy companies contribute significantly to the U.S. economy and their impact continues to grow year after year. IDFA’s members remain dedicated to making safe, delicious products that nourish and sustain consumers while delivering for our economy.”

The report also demonstrates how dairy product categories contribute directly to the U.S. economy, including:

  • Cheese: Adds $55.4 billion in direct economic impact and supports 57,700 dairy industry jobs
  • Milk: Adds $49 billion in direct economic impact and supports 62,200 dairy industry jobs
  • Ice Cream: Adds $13.1 billion in direct economic impact and supports 28,800 dairy industry jobs
  • Yogurt & Cultured Products: Adds $6.8 billion in direct economic impact and supports 8,600 dairy industry jobs
  • Dairy Ingredients: Adds $17.7 billion in direct economic impact and supports 11,000 dairy industry jobs

The study’s findings are also available in an interactive economic impact tool on IDFA’s Dairy Delivers® webpage where users can click on an interactive map of the U.S. to learn how dairy impacts their community. Just select an area of the country that interests you—options include the full U.S., any of the 50 states, or any of the 435 Congressional districts. Once you click on the state and/or district that interests you, select View/Print to generate your own detailed fact sheet or economic impact report. To learn more, visit

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.3 million jobs that generate $41.6 billion in direct wages and $753 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.

IDFA Media Contact

Gene Grabowski

Special Advisor and Spokesman