Monterey County agriculture pumps $8.2 billion into the local economy and supports more than 73,000 jobs, Agricultural Commissioner Eric Lauritzen announced as he released the first comprehensive economic analysis of the county’s leading industry.
“This study began with data from our annual crop report, but we wanted to go a step further,” said Lauritzen.
“This looks beyond the direct benefits of farm production to include the ripple effect from ag-related business. In these tough times, it’s important to better understand how and where agriculture contributes to our economy and to local employment.”
To provide some perspective, Monterey’s $8.2 billion output exceeded General Motors’ worldwide profits in
2011. The 73,429 people directly or indirectly employed in Monterey County by agriculture are equivalent to
almost half the population of Salinas.
The study was conducted for the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office by Drs. Jeff Langholz and Fernando
DePaolis, who specialize in policy and economics at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Some
highlights from their detailed analysis:
- With $5.1 billion in direct economic output, agriculture was the county’s largest economic sector. An additional $3.1 billion is spent by agriculture companies and their employees.
- Agriculture was directly responsible for 45,176 jobs -- about one job in every five in Monterey County.
- An additional 28,289 jobs are made possible by expenditures by agricultural companies and their employees.
- Ag business taxes amounted to more than $102 million, or about $1 of every $5 in the county’s general fund – and this does not include profit or income taxes.
- The Salinas Valley is the heart of the local agricultural economy, contributing 70 percent of economic output and 79 percent of agricultural jobs.
- Despite two major economic recessions, Monterey County agricultural production value grew 7.3 percent during the past decade.
“This report truly emphasizes the importance of Salinas Valley agriculture to the region, as an employer and
economic engine,” said Mary Ann Leffel, President of the Monterey County Business Council. “Every dollar
earned in the region is multiplied many times over. The bonus is the bounty of crops produced here and the local availability of fresh produce. The Monterey County Business Council salutes our agricultural industry.”
The report, “Economic Contributions of Monterey County Agriculture”, was released In April, 2012 at a briefing held in Salinas. Drs. Langholz and DePaolis presented their findings to the news media and representatives of business and agriculture. They included: Jim Bogart, President and General Counsel, Grower-Shipper Association; Norm Groot, Executive Director, Monterey County Farm Bureau; Mary Zischke, Executive Director, California Leafy Greens Research Board; and Laura Tourte, County Director, Santa Cruz County Cooperative Extension; Kim Ha Wadsworth, Director of Technology, Monterey County Business Council.
Lauritzen also noted that the report showcases resource conservation efforts by his office through collaboration with the Monterey County Information Technology Printing Services Department. A limited number of reports were printed on 100 percent recycled, non-chlorine bleached paper using environmentally sensitive non-toxic toner. Readers are encouraged to download the report at http://ag.co.monterey.ca.us/. “Reducing the environmental impact of our office is a key part of a larger effort to make county operations more efficient and sustainable,” said Lauritzen.