State News

New study highlights the value of Vermont’s dairy industry

The Vermont dairy industry brings $2.2 billion in economic activity to Vermont annually, according to a new study funded by the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council. Findings from the study were unveiled last week at the Vermont Farm Show.

Recognizing the need for up-to-date data about dairying’s impact on Vermont’s economy, the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council partnered with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, and the Castleton Polling Institute to quantify the impact of the industry on Vermont’s economy and way of life. The study, which began in March 2014, was funded by dairy farmers through the state’s dairy check-off program. The data has been consolidated in a new brochure titled “Milk Matters: The Role of Dairy in Vermont,” which can be downloaded online.

Findings describe the impact of the industry on Vermont’s economy, landscape, and way of life. Highlights include:


Dairying brings $2.2 billion in economic activity to Vermont each year.

Dairying brings $3 million in circulating cash to the state each day.

Dairying accounts for more than 70 percent of Vermont’s agricultural sales.

Annual sales of Vermont dairy products and byproducts = $1.3 billion.

Sixty-three percent of the milk produced in New England comes from Vermont.

The dairy industry provides 6,000-7,000 Vermont jobs.

Every cow brings $12,500 in economic activity to Vermont annually.


Fifteen percent of the state is covered by dairy farms and the fields that provide their feed.

More than 80 percent of Vermont’s farmland is dedicated to dairying.

Sixty-six percent of Vermonters report using farmland for recreation.

Way of life

Ninety-seven percent of Vermonters say dairy farms are important to the state.

Ninety-two percent of Vermonters say dairy farms add to the beauty of Vermont.

Ninety-one percent of Vermonters say dairying is important to Vermont’s way of life.

“The dairy industry is a significant economic driver for Vermont,” according to Patricia Moulton, secretary of the Agency of Commerce. “This study helps contextualize the importance of dairy relative to Vermont’s overall economy.”

“Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion about the water quality challenges facing the dairy industry,” said Chuck Ross, Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture. “This study underscores the importance of working together to solve those issues. I believe we can have both–a healthy lake and a thriving dairy industry. From open lands, to jobs, to the impact on the Vermont brand, it is hard to imagine our state without dairy.”

“We’ve lacked up-to-date data about the industry’s impact,” said dairy farmer Bob Foster, a member of the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council. “This study provides a better understanding of the collective role family farms play in the bigger picture for our state.”

To read the full report, visit

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