WASHINGTON —The US dairy industry continues to play a strong role in the United States, 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), which represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry.

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

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

  • 3.5% of US 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 US 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 chief executive officer. “Whether it's milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, or dairy-derived ingredients, American dairy companies contribute significantly to the US 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 US 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 and 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

To learn more about the study’s findings, visit www.idfa.org/dairydelivers.