Dairy cows a boon to California

The wow of the cow.

That's the end result of a study of the economic impact of the California dairy business. The study, done by the California Milk Advisory Board, shows that California dairy farms contributed $63 billion to the state's economy in 2008.

"That's more than the wine industry or the movie and television industry's impact on the state," said Stan Andre, chief executive officer of the California Milk Advisory Board.

Dairies themselves produced $9.9 billion worth of milk in 2008. Add the supply chain that supports dairies, such as equipment suppliers, contractors, feed suppliers and growers and others to that figure, and the total impact is $63 billion. The board figures the basic worth is multiplied by 6.4 to show the true impact of the industry.

Merced County benefits substantially from the dairy industry, with a total worth of dairy commodities, including milk and cattle and calves, of more than $1 billion in 2008. David Robinson, agricultural commissioner for the county, said that figure doesn't take into consideration the additional economic value generated by those dollars.

Read the complete story at