Ag supports million jobs in California

Some 7.4 percent of total, center says

Agriculture supports more than one million jobs in California, accounting for 7.4 percent of the total, according to the University of California Agricultural Issues Center's latest report, “The Measure of California Agriculture, 2000” (MOCA 2000).

That is one of many agricultural facts and figures portrayed in the new 114-page publication, which draws information from a variety of documented sources. The publication includes a mix of charts and tables as well as interpretive bullets. It is designed expressly for easy access to the most useful summary information about agriculture in the state.

Co-author Daniel Sumner, the UC Agricultural Issues Center director, said the new edition was produced to contribute to better public understanding of California agriculture and its crucial role in the state's economy.

Straightforward statistics are a large component of the publication, including such facts as the number of California acres in farmland (27.7 million), the state's total ag cash receipts ($24.8 billion), and the value of the state's ag exports ($6.1 billion).

An analysis of agriculture's “multiplier effects” in MOCA 2000 presents an even more telling measure of the significance of the state's agriculture industry. The multiplier effects take into account secondary businesses related to agriculture, such as food processors, transportation companies, packaging manufacturers and farm implement providers. UC Berkeley agricultural economist and study co-author George Goldman notes that farmers generate about $59 billion in personal income for Californians, or 6.6 percent of the state's annual personal income.

Detailed overview

“The new publication gives readers a detailed overview of agriculture in California,” said Nicolai Kuminoff, staff research associate at the Ag Issues Center and co-author of the study. “Agriculture is an important component of the state's economy as a whole, and it is extremely important to certain regions.”

For example, MOCA 2000 reports that 31.7 percent of San Joaquin Valley income and 36.9 percent of its employment are tied to the agriculture industry.

The first edition of MOCA was prepared in 1992 at the request of the California State Board of Agriculture. A request by the state board to update and expand the report prompted a 1996 revision, which was followed by a second revision in 1998. The 2000 edition includes substantial amounts of 1998 and 1999 data and, as in previous versions, documents historical trends. In addition, for the first time the MOCA report features statistics on farmer demographics; farmland conversion to urban uses; chemical, fertilizer and water use; exotic pests and diseases; contracting between growers and processors; risk management; technology; and research and development.

The publication points out, for example, that since 1978 the number of female farm operators in California has grown from 7.6 percent to 13.6 percent of the total. Currently the hired farm workforce in the state is almost entirely foreign born and largely young (63 percent under age 34) and male (82 percent).

Copies of “Measure of California Agriculture, 2000” are $15 each. Summary cards with pertinent facts and figures in a pocketsize folder are $l. To place an order, send a check payable to “UC Regents” to UC Agricultural Issues Center, One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

For the first time, the complete MOCA publication and summary cards are available free on the UC Ag Issues Center Web site in pdf format. To access the documents, find the title on the online publications and data page at

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