We all know the health benefits associated with dairy products. But, did you know the dairy industry also significantly benefits our economy? A U.S. Dairy Export Council spokesman tells us about the industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy and what it needs to further succeed.
AUDIO: Tom Vilsack, U.S. Dairy Export Council
A recent International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) study analyzed the dairy industry’s impact on the United States economy. U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) president and CEO Tom Vilsack says the dairy industry significantly impacts the U.S. economy.
“Nearly three-million jobs (are) supported by the dairy industry in the U.S. It contributes $628 billion of economic activity every year, pays nearly $40 billion in wages and $10 of billions of dollars to local, state and federal taxes,” Vilsack said.
Vilsack says it is important for people to be aware of food and agriculture’s influence on the economy. To help others understand how the dairy industry contributes to the United States economy, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, International Dairy Foods Association and National Milk Producers Federation created the “Got Jobs? Dairy Creates Jobs, Exports Create More” campaign. The campaign aims to shine a brighter, data-driven spotlight on the positive effects of dairy’s economic engine.
Vilsack says, “it is incredibly important for us all to be equipped when we talk.” He adds being informed helps leverage discussions with policymakers, who can implement legislation which supports, protects and prioritizes the dairy industry. Vilsack says dairy producers need strong advocates, especially when it comes to trade.
“We’re beginning to see an uptick in exports,” Vilsack said. “March was the single largest month of any, in the history of our industry, in terms of sales overseas. We obviously want to continue. We have a program to try to increase and expand exports from rough 15% of production to 20% of production. We think we can reach that by reaching out to markets in Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, Mexico, Latin America and South America.”
To learn more about the dairy industry and its significance, visit GotDairyJobs.org.