America is now officially in an election year and the Iowa caucuses are behind us. Much of the political debate has focused on how to create jobs for Americans, though animal agriculture has been omitted from much of the discussion.

In an effort to estimate the economic impact of animal agriculture, the United Soybean Board funded an economic analysis conducted by Promar International that found 1.85 million jobs throughout the American economy in 2010 as a result of animal agriculture.

The United Soybean Board (USB) funded the study because domestic animal agriculture is “by far the major source of demand for U.S. soybean meal, and future soybean demand is tightly linked to the health of those industries.” According to USB, animals consumed 30 million tons of soybeans in 2010, and that was “the principle driver of soybean processing, which also produces the soybean oil that is essential for the U.S. food industry.”

The report, Animal Agriculture Economic Analysis, found that in addition to 1.85 million jobs, animal agriculture (which includes beef cattle, hogs, broilers, turkeys, eggs, sheep, dairy and aquaculture) has a $289 billion impact on total output in the economy. They also found a $51 billion impact on household incomes, a $13 billion impact on income taxes paid, and a $6 billion impact on property taxes paid.