According to a new study from the University of California Agricultural Issues Center (AIC), the almond industry supports California's economic well-being by generating more than 100,000 jobs and more than $21 billion gross revenue across all industries in the state, adding about $11 billion dollars to size of its total economy.
“As a major part of California agriculture, generating about 15 percent of the value of California farm output and almost 25 percent of agricultural exports, the California almond industry is a major contributor to a healthy and vibrant agriculture and a sound California economy needed to offer economic opportunity in the state,” reads the report, which was led by AIC Director Daniel Sumner.
Throughout the state - and especially in California’s Central Valley - the report’s authors note, farms and processors not only provide direct employment but “also buy goods and services from other local firms that also provide jobs and generate incomes” for business owners and employees.
This income, in turn, buys local consumer goods and services in addition to paying state and local taxes. These “economic ripples” create “indirect” and “induced” jobs and value.
The study examines and breaks out the economic impact - direct and indirect - of California almonds at every stage of production - from growing through hulling, shelling, handling, and manufacturing.
The almond industry as a whole, including processing and marketing, generates about 104,000 jobs statewide.
Three quarters of those jobs are outside the almond industry - jobs that follow almonds off the farm and outside of the processing plant as a result of the business that almond industry members do with other companies and money they spend in their communities.
Almond growing is responsible for about 21,000 direct farm jobs.
In total, including indirect and induced effects, almond growing accounts for more than 68,000 jobs, handling for nearly 27,000 jobs, hulling and shelling for more than 5,000 jobs, and manufacturing for more than 3,000 jobs.
The industry generates more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly creates more than $11 billion of added value (the measure of California’s gross state product).
As almond production has expanded, California almond exports have become increasingly more valuable to the agriculture industry.
“Almonds have become a crop of choice in California because California is one of the only places in the world to effectively grow them,” said Almond Board of California Chief Executive Officer Richard Waycott.
“This report shows how that advantage is translating into value - not just for growers but for their communities and the state as a whole.”
In addition to analyzing statewide impacts, the study found that “the almond industry is especially important to jobs in the Central Valley of California,” contributing about 97,000 jobs to the Valley alone. “These jobs are vital in a region that has long had high unemployment,” the report says.
“Farming has been a critical source of value and economic activity for the state through good times and bad. In fact, even through the recession, the agricultural sector was a rare bright spot - and almonds have been a major part of that story,” said Sumner.
The full report can be found online at http://aic.ucdavis.edu/almonds/.