Why conduct an economic impact study (EIS)?
The reasons for conducting an economic impact study are many:
- creates an awareness of and an interest in the equine industry
- helps provide positive relationships, including congressional and media relations
- identifies local partners and supporters and offers an opportunity to recognize those relationships
- identifies the industry as a player in the local, state & national economy
- allows the industry to advertise itself by first identifying its contributions.
Why is a new economic study especially important for 2023?
Major economic changes have occurred during the past five years. Not only have business closures and resulting federal stimulus programs related to the pandemic made a major impact, but the industry has adapted to historic changes made to the tax code since 2017.
What are the benefits of an economic impact study (EIS) and the uses of the study results?
Each organization will benefit directly from such public exposure. The following benefits are the most direct and common; an economic impact study:
- breaks down potential barriers to federal, state, and local leaders.
- raises members’ level of pride in the organization.
- increases awareness and interest in what you do.
- helps state and federal agencies scale the level of support and engagement needed to protect and serve the industry,
- offers an opportunity to establish and maintain a positive image of your organization in the community and among the media.
- opens the door for future fund-raising projects and may support efforts to work more closely with your financial institutions.
- provides the opportunity to highlight noneconomic contributions and the civic involvement of the organization and its members.
What’s Included in the Study and What’s not included?
Contents of the study include (but not limited to): Economic Impact both direct and indirect for each sector of the industry; horse populations, number of volunteers, land usage, demographics of owners; employment data, etc.
The study does not include marketing information like buying habits or product use.
How is this study different from the USDA census? Or the AVMA Petsource Survey?
There are presently three major organizations that collect and publish data regarding the US horse population, albeit with different target audiences and different definitions.
- The AHC Economic Impact Study is the most comprehensive as it’s inclusive of all equids.
- The USDA, National Agriculture Statistic Service (NASS) conducts a census that counts only horses that are on working farms. This definition excludes boarding, training and riding facilities; as well as any other operation that fails to generate a minimum of $1,000 in sales of equine products, defined as “breeding fees, stud fees, semen or other”.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) publishes a report on pets. While horses are defined as “livestock”, the AVMA study does ask owners about all types of animals in their care and thus publishes the number of horses reported. The Food and Drug Administration utilized both the AVMA survey and information from USDA’s periodic surveys of farm animal populations to estimate the U.S. horse population. FDA explained that population estimates are important for helping determine potential eligibility for drugs to be used for “minor uses”.
How much does the Economic Impact Study cost to conduct?
Current estimates are that the National study will cost approximately $300,000-$400,000.
Break out reports for specific states or breeds/disciplines will cost roughly $20,000 – $35,000.
How is the study funded?
As AHC and the AHC Foundation (AHCF) are not government subsidized, nor does 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. Details about these opportunities can be found at https://horsecouncil.org/economic-impact-study-fundraising/
Why should horse owners complete the EIS survey?
1. The EIS determines where resources go — and don’t go.
Policymakers use EIS data — both the total population count and population characteristics — to allocate their time and resources. Ever been frustrated that you can’t get something done for the horse community? EIS can help make that case.
2. The EIS impacts political pull.
The government and industry rely on EIS data — more specifically, the total number of horses in each state to shape the political landscape within states by informing decisions on building and maintaining trails, and agriculture and equine facilities. EIS can help politicians understand their constituent’s influence.
3. The EIS ensures we have a story to tell.
To have a statistically valid sample, any given state will need at least 10,000 survey responses. Lack of valid responses will inhibit the ability to project horse populations and contributions – thus limiting your ability to use the data to influence resources in your community. Want to know the population and economic impact in say the state of Arizona or Connecticut? We want to know and think you do too, but we didn’t have enough people respond to the 2017 survey to come up with those figures.
4. The EIS drives products and services.
Many manufacturers and service providers use the EIS to gauge the market and drive product development and business potential. Want a new feed store or tack store in your area? EIS can drive business growth.
5. The EIS helps communities plan for the future.
Communities — city planners, businesses, real estate developers, and policymakers — review EIS data to better understand the needs of local residents and neighborhoods. Leaders then use this information to plot how and where their communities must evolve. The resulting changes are wide-ranging. Flawed EIS data, on the other hand, can have real and lasting consequences.
6. The EIS informs other research efforts.
A number of federal surveys rely on EIS data. These include the USDA, AAEP, AVMA, and so on….
How many survey responses will be needed?
If we want economic impacts for large breeds or disciplines organizations, we might need 10,000 surveys from each organization’s membership to derive their total economic impact as an organization. Smaller populations might require 6,000 surveys per organization.
What tools are available to educate horse owners about the study?
The AHC is developing a number of images for social media, flyers, and other collateral for equine associations and organizations to use to share with the members and stakeholders. Look for those at www.horsecouncil.org/Economic2022/media tools/