CA Dairy Industry Accounts for $63B in Economic Activity

Milk – California’s largest agriculture commodity – was responsible for creating a total of 443,574 jobs and $63 billion in economic activity for the state, according to a study released by the California Milk Advisory Board that highlights the dairy industry’s impact on the Golden State’s economy, including the number of jobs and revenue generated from a typical dairy farm in one year. The study reflects activity in 2008, the latest year for which figures are available,

The typical California dairy farm stimulates a positive ripple effect throughout the state, according to the research conducted by J/D/G Consulting Inc., an independent dairy industry research firm based in Florida. Specifically, a typical farm generates $33.1 million in economic activity and 232 jobs in the state, including “on-the-farm” and “beyond-the-farm” jobs like milk tanker drivers, grocery store clerks, feed farmers and employees at milk processing and cheese plants, among others.

When compared to the impact of other notable California industries, the dairy industry provides more economic stimulus and jobs to the state yearly than either the iconic entertainment or wine industries. The most recent statistics available for these industries show that the motion picture/television industry contributes $35 billion and 208,230 jobs (2007) and the wine industry provides $59 billion and 330,000 jobs (2008).

“This research offers a perspective on how vital the dairy industry is to California with every dollar from production and sales of California milk contributing to the economy,” said Stan Andre, CMAB chief executive officer. “In addition to providing one of the four food groups that feeds our local communities, a typical dairy cow generates more than $34,000 in economic activity and a herd of 100 cows creates 25 jobs for California residents each year.”

According to the study, in 2008 California had 1,905 dairies with 1.8 million dairy cows that supplied milk to 117 dairy processing plants, which produced cheese, fluid milk, ice cream, butter and other dairy products that carry the Real California Milk and Real California Cheese seals. These seals help consumers identify dairy products made with milk from California dairy farms. Since the introduction of the Real California Milk seal in 2007, awareness of and purchase intent for California dairy products has increased significantly.

To give consumers a better understanding of the people behind Real California dairy products, the CMAB developed 15 mini-documentaries profiling California dairy families that are available online

FDA Reports Continued Decrease of Residues in Raw Milk

Only 0.026% of all truckloads of raw milk tested positive for medicinal animal drug residues in fiscal year 2009, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recently released National Milk Drug Residue Database (NMDRD) results.

This low level – one in 3,846 truckloads – is a decrease of 7% over 2008 findings in this voluntary reporting program that includes state, FDA and dairy industry data.

The U.S. dairy industry tests every truckload of raw milk prior to use. All truckloads of raw milk testing positive for any drug residue are disposed of and not used to produce food for human consumption. The amount of milk disposed of in fiscal year 2009 was a 13% reduction from 2008 and a 58% reduction since 2007.

“Stronger on-farm animal care programs and intense testing at the dairy plant are continuing to show impressive decreases in the FDA-sponsored NMDRD database testing results for medicinal animal drug residues,” said Allen Sayler, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs. “The program of testing every truckload of raw milk and disposing of those testing positive is very successful in maintaining confidence in dairy products and in the dairy industry.”

Overall, 3.9 million samples were analyzed. In addition, more than 45,000 finished dairy products were tested, which is a 4% increase in testing from 2008. No finished dairy products were found to contain animal drug residues. A total of 50 U.S. states and territories submitted data, with Rhode Island, a very small dairy state, being the only holdout.

The 2009 NMDRD analysis also noted a sizable increase in testing for the enrofloxacin and sulfonamide drug family from the 2008 report. This year’s data included tests for 10 different groups of individual animal drugs and 26 different testing methods.

Antibiotics are not routinely used on dairy cows in the milking herd. Dairy farmers and veterinarians use animal medicines under strict controls to treat sick dairy cattle. Treated cattle are removed from regular milk production and are not returned to the milking herd until their milk is free of any medicinal residues. When used according to label directions, medicines should not result in any residues in the milk. In rare instances, however, mix-ups in treatment records and animal identification at the dairy farm can lead to residues in the raw milk supply. Testing of all truckloads is designed to catch these rare occurrences.

Full NMDRD reports can be viewed at

in memoriam

Joe Blommer: 1942-2010

Joe Blommer, president and chief executive officer of Bloomer Chocolate Co., died Jan. 20 at his home in River Hill, Wis., from brain cancer at age 67. In a career spanning more than 35 years, Blommer helped lead the family-owned company through a period of sustained growth and change. Today, the Chicago-based chocolate producer is North America’s largest cocoa bean processor and chocolate ingredient products company with a reputation for outstanding customer service and quality.

Among his many accomplishments, Blommer was responsible for construction of the company’s East Greenville, Pa., plant in 1980. The first chocolate factory to be built in the United States in many years, the new facility was a significant and successful investment in bringing high-tech manufacturing closer to Blommer’s largest customers.

Raymond Baker: 1918-2010

Raymond E. Baker, founder of NewAge Industries, died at his Florida home on Jan. 28 following a brief illness. He was 91.

Baker began his business career after serving as a medical technician sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a district sales manager for the Singer sewing machine company but found he wanted more challenges. So he started NewAge Industries Inc. and imported hardness-testing equipment from Italy. During one of his many business trips to Europe, he came across the braid-reinforced PVC hose. Baker began importing the hose, which he named Nylobrade, and introduced it to the United States.

With his strong work ethic and skills, Baker grew both the hardness testing machine and hose sides of his business over the following decades. In 1998, Baker sold the company to his youngest son, Ken, and maintained his position as chairman of the board until his death.

Today, NewAge Industries manufactures plastic tubing and rubber hoses for a variety of industries, holds several patents and sells products worldwide. Its AdvantaPure division targets the pharmaceutical industry with high purity products and RFID devices and technology.