Over the course of its 50-plus year history, the American Horse Council has conducted numerous national economic impact studies of the U.S. horse industry, with the most recent study completed in 2017. The next study will take place in 2022.
The challenges of 2020 and 2021 with the pandemic and its economic impacts on all aspects of our industry make the 2022 study all that more important and necessary.
An economic impact study examines the effect of an event or industry has on the economy and usually measures changes in business revenue, business profits, personal wages and jobs.
As a large, economically diverse industry, the horse industry contributes significantly to the American economy. Here are just a few of the many ways the AHC National Economic Impact Study is used:
• Educate decision makers and lawmakers on the economic impact of the equine industry nationally or locally.
• Identify trends and project and forecast indicators when used in conjunction with previous studies.
• Pinpoint areas of growth in the industry to foster and identify gaps that need attention.
• Assess the demographics of the industry — age, income levels and so forth.
• Identify the monetary impacts the industry has on a community through tourism and jobs.
• Inform possible decisions regarding business development such as construction or renovation of venues and trails and determine viability of events.
• Provide context to arguments and cases for legal defense, adverse legislation or regulation, or development or expansion that may negatively impact the industry.
• Help fight for green space and public lands.
Designing and preparing such a large study requires months of advance planning. As such, AHC is embarking on preliminary study design and fundraising this spring.
As AHC and the AHC Foundation are not government subsidized, nor do AHC or AHCF receive any funding through check off programs like some livestock groups. AHC relies on contributions, sponsorships and advertising to fund the study.
The national study is expected to cost roughly $300,000 and it is believed that state breakout reports will run $25,000 to $35,000 each. The state of Illinois collected valuable data by participating in the 2017 Economic Impact Study by raising $30,000 from in-state donors and will attempt to do so in the upcoming drive. To contribute to Illinois’ participation in the state breakout reports, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The data from the EIS has been and will continue to be utilized to make strong arguments for change within our industry, but we can’t do it without industry support.
Kevin Kline is a University of Illinois Extension horses specialist.