September 12, 2008


California's dairy industry grows 30 percent in value, reaps US$61 billion


Milk is now a US$61 billion business in California, having grown 30 percent over 2004 as milk production grew 12 percent over the same period to a record 41 billion pounds, according to a study released by the California Milk Advisory Board.


Despite current economic factors, California's dairy business experienced continued growth in 2007, maintaining its position as the top dairy producing state. These growth trends are expected to continue as the study projects total California milk production to exceed 55 billion pounds by 2020.


California remains a leader in overall dairy shipments from milk to butter and cheese.


Butter production increased to nearly 499 million pounds in 2007, up 29 percent since 2004 while cheese production increased to 2.3 billion pounds, up nearly 15 percent from 2004.


The study was conducted for the CMAB by J/D/G Consulting Inc., an independent dairy industry research firm based in Florida that conducted the last study in 2004.


The dairy industry continues to have a significant impact on the state's economy, with a US$14 billion increase in economic activity since 2004, said Stan G. Andre, CEO of the CMAB.


Dairy remains one of the largest agriculture forces in the state as dairy demand and consumption continues to increase, he said.


The study estimates that the California dairy industry created nearly 435,000 full-time jobs in 2007, including those in feed production, processing plants, distribution centres and retail.


According to the study, in 2007 California had 1,960 dairies with 1.8 million dairy cows that supplied milk to 120 dairy processing plants,


The state created its own milk seal last year: The Real California Milk seal introduced by the CMAB, which helps consumers identify milk and other dairy products from California dairy farms.


According to the research, nearly 90 percent of Californian consumers reported an intent to buy products bearing the seal just three months after its launch.

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