Reports cite Minnesota dairy industry’s economic impact, support new research/teaching facility

Two new reports from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) note the importance of the state’s dairy industry, and the need to support increased dairy education and research.

According to “Minnesota Dairy Industry Economic Impact,” every dairy cow in Minnesota contributes $25,000 annually to the state economy.  The state’s dairy herd of 463,000 cows had a total economic impact of $11.6 billion and over 40,000 jobs.
The report, by MDA economist Su Ye, shows the economic activities generated by each dairy cow and the benefit to many economic sectors in the state, such as production and processing, supply and services, manufacturing, transportation, wholesale and retail trade, feed production, and other agricultural and non-agricultural inputs.

Minnesota is the sixth largest dairy state in the U.S. Dairy farming accounts for 24% of the state’s total livestock production. View the report

Another MDA report, titled “Minnesota Dairy Research/Outreach Facility”, was sent to the Minnesota House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee in mid February. As noted by the title of the report, it calls for a bonding request for pre-design and facility requirements for a new dairy research/teaching and consumer outreach facility.

According to the report, a new dairy research and teaching facility would enable Minnesota dairy producers to continue a trend of increased production while requiring fewer resources in an environmentally sound manner.

It suggests a public-private venture to keep operating costs in line. While size of the operation remains fluid, benefits of the new facility need to balance the needs of all dairy operations, regardless of size or style of production. The facility needs to be large enough to incorporate multiple research projects simultaneously, and be located within a reasonable distance of major metropolitan areas to facilitate educational program coordination.

The report also states, “Minnesota’s dairy industry is positioned to contribute to the Minnesota economy by adding to the tax base and producing new jobs.  After consecutive years of increased dairy production and a gradual increase in the number of dairy cows, Minnesota is positioned to continue its strong tradition as a significant competitor in the production of dairy products for the country and the world’s growing population.  Minnesota’s place in the future of the dairy industry has yet to be determined and will depend largely on the planning and preparations made today for the dairy producers of tomorrow.”

Next steps would include the pre-engineering phase, where land availability, siting considerations, education needs, consumer-friendly access and community outreach will be more clearly defined. A pre-bonding request for approval of pre-design and facility requirements has been estimated at $300,000-$500,000.

To read the entire report, go to Minnesota Dairy Research/Teaching and Outreach Facility Report.

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