Wednesday, April 18th, 2012...12:37 pm

DePaolis and Langholz to Conduct Study on Agriculture and the Economy in Monterey County

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An Article Published in the Monterey Herald this week states the following in relation to the study:

Article written by Kate Moser.

“Agriculture contributes $8.2 billion a year to the local economy and is responsible for more than 70,000 jobs in Monterey County, according to a report released Wednesday.

County Agriculture Commissioner Eric Lauritzen characterized the data as further evidence of the significance of agriculture as an “economic stabilizer and important fabric of our community.”

The commissioner’s office hired two professors from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Jeff Langholz and Fernando DePaolis, to conduct the study.

They made clear the report doesn’t provide a complete picture of the net impact of agriculture because they did not take into consideration the costs to natural resources and other areas of society associated with the industry.

The study’s authors measured not only the total production and employment generated by agricultural and food production industries locally, but also the associated ripple effects — the suppliers and other kinds of businesses that agricultural firms patronize, as well as dollars poured into the economy by agricultural business owners and their employees through personal spending, such as housing and restaurants.

Lauritzen said he was particularly surprised by the number of jobs tied to agriculture: One out of every five workers in the county is employed in agriculture industries, and 28,000 more jobs are generated by the ripple effects.

The Salinas Valley can take credit for the lion’s share of the economic benefit, with 70 percent of the industry’s economic output and 79 percent of agriculture jobs.

The unveiling of the report drew industry representatives, including Jim Bogart, president of the Grower-Shipper Association, and Norm Groot, executive director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau.

“A lot of us in this arena have long known about this multiplier effect, but we’ve never quantified it,” Bogart said.

Both Bogart and Groot said the report arms the industry with valuable data on the real impact of agriculture at a time when public policy debates raise critical questions that could affect the viability of growers.

Groot said “we’re on a precipice” when it comes to public policy affecting farmers, including legislation dealing with labor, new agricultural runoff rules recently approved by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, and air quality standards.

“It becomes almost overwhelming for farmers to keep up with all these things and then make a profit so they can keep farming,” Groot said.”

To view the rest of the article, please follow this link:

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