PUC profs contribute to study that equine industry impacts Indiana economy by $2+ billion

Two Purdue University Calumet faculty members helped author a Purdue University equine business study that indicates Indiana’s horse-related industry has a $2+ billion impact on the state’s economy.

“This is the first time entrepreneurship has been surveyed,” Susan Conners, Purdue Calumet associate professor and director of the university’s Equine Business Management program, said. “The data shows equine activity is a vital part of Indiana’s economy.”

Conners served as lead author of the study. Purdue Calumet Associate Professor of Finance and Economics Jonathan Furdek contributed as a co-author.

Conners, Furdek and colleagues at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus collaborated to survey the economic impact and health of the state’s equine industry by studying Indiana’s horse shows, racetracks, and equine businesses and owners. The study, sponsored in part by various state equine organizations, was conducted last spring and covered 2010 activity.

Purdue Calumet offers an Equine Business Management major within its Bachelor of Arts in Business degree program. The major emphasizes development of such business management skills as marketing, accounting, finance, information systems, human resources, operations management and others specific to the equine industry. Purdue Calumet, in partnership with Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, is one of the few universities nationally to offer a business program of study specific to the horse industry.

The Purdue study indicated that while racing generates the most horse industry revenue, people who enjoy riding and other recreational equine-related activities comprise the industry’s largest segment. The industry also includes sales, breeding, showing, boarding, riding lessons, labor, training, feed and supplements, tack, veterinarian care and supplies, farriers, facility maintenance and transportation.

Conners said the study reveals a need for programs and resources that emphasize management skills. “Many people who were interested in starting a business felt they didn’t have the resources to do so,” she said.

The next step is to determine how best to use information generated by the study. A series of statewide public meetings will be held early next year to discuss the findings and answer questions. The study report can be accessed on the Purdue Calumet website at http://webs.purduecal.edu/equine/research/.

Sponsors of the study are Purdue Calumet’s Equine Business Management program, the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine and state equine organizations, including Hoosier Horse Park, Indiana Horse Council, Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Indiana Standardbred Association, Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana.