June 27, 2022

Extension Notebook: Horse industry impacts state, national economies

In announcing the upcoming 2023 National Economic Impact survey, the American Horse Council stated:

“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 2023. The challenges of 2020 and 2021 with the pandemic and its economic impacts on all aspects of our industry make the 2023 study all that more important and necessary.” The 2023 date for the next study represents a one-year delay from the initially announced start date of 2022.

As Illinois was one of the focus states in the 2017 study, AHC found that our state boasts some impressive numbers with regard to the impact of our horse industry on the state economy:

• The total value of horses added to the Illinois wconomy was found to be $2 billion.

• The direct contribution to GDP was $1.1 billion.

• The total employment impact was 25,594 jobs.

• The direct employment impact was 19,771 jobs.

• The 150,367 horses in Illinois made it the 18th largest state in terms of horse population.

• Horse ownership, equine institutions and profit-making organizations, and tourism spending by participants and spectators combined for a $3.23 billion total economic impact.

• 30.5% of households — or 1.6 million — in Illinois were found to contain horse enthusiasts.

• 69,000 Illinois residents volunteered their time for horse-related activities.

• 645,000 acres of land in Illinois were used for horse-related purposes.

Several different sectors of the horse industry contributed to these Illinois data, including racing, competition, recreation, equine therapy and equine rescues and sanctuaries.

The AHC welcomes contributions to assist with collecting the data that will be used for:

• Creating awareness of and an interest in the equine industry.

• Providing positive relationships, including congressional and media relations.

• Identifying local partners and supporters and offers an opportunity to recognize those relationships.

• Identifying the industry as a player in the local, state and national economy.

• Allowing the industry to advertise itself by identifying its contributions.

Kevin H. Kline, Ph.D., is professor of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.