New Study Shows $554 Billion Produce Industry Benefit To U.S. Economy

The U.S. fruit, vegetable, and mass-market floral industry contributes $554 billion annually to the nation’s economy, impacting every state and every congressional district in the country, according to a new study from Battelle. The first-of-its-kind economic impact study of the industry – titled “Economic Reach and Impact of the Fresh Produce and Floral Industry,” commissioned by Produce Marketing Association (PMA) – used unprecedented economic modeling to analyze and measure the industry’s field-to-fork reach.

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“This is the first study to reach across the value chain to define the full impact of the industry on the U.S. economy, from the farm all the way through retail and foodservice,” said PMA president and CEO Bryan Silbermann. “Our industry has substantial economic and employment impact in the U.S, contributing significantly to the economies of every state and congressional district in the country.”

Overall, the study determined the U.S. fresh produce and mass-market floral industry accounts for more than $275 billion in direct economic output, and a total economic impact of more than $554 billion when its “ripple” effects are included. Every dollar of production value ultimately generates $16.75 of total economic value.

The study encompasses all levels of participation in the produce and mass market floral industry, including local farmers, organic production, farmers markets, conventional production, all types of grocery stores, and restaurants, and everyone in between. It also accounts for the ripple impact of suppliers’ businesses and worker spending.

“The results show our industry’s total impact is 4.23% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and one-third of total U.S. animal and crop production,” said Kathy Means, PMA vice president for government relations and public affairs. “We account for 1.9% of all U.S. employment, providing the equivalent of 2.7 million full-time positions, and nearly $72 billion in wages.

The Battelle report offers critical new information on a previously little-studied industry, as well as business and policy value to all industry segments, from private companies to associations to government.

“The results have significant application to federal, state, and local government efforts including lobbying, policymaking, and program funding,”explained Means. “The statistics can be used by groups and individual companies in zoning, tax incentives, loan and grant requests, and business development proposals. Additionally, the employment information can help show the loss or creation of jobs resulting from industry influence.”

PMA is developing a Webcast to summarize the study and its implications for industry members; it will be available via PMA’s Web site later this month. An executive summary is available free of charge; the full report, with or without the state and congressional district information, can be purchased. For more information, visit www.pma.com/economic-impact.