County of Santa Clara Releases “Economic Contribution of Agriculture” Study
Santa Clara County / CALIFORNIA
Local agricultural industries produce a total of $1.6 billion in output value and contribute $830 million to Santa Clara County’s economy each year. The “Economic Contribution of Agriculture” study recently released by the County of Santa Clara evaluates the additional economic activity beyond the value of crop production created by key agricultural industries in the county, and traces that value from the field to final processing and consumption. The study will be presented to the Board of Supervisors’ Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee at its 10 am meeting (agenda item 12) on Jan. 21 at the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers.
“While the footprint of agricultural land has become smaller, decreasing from 40,000 acres in the 1980s to 20,000 acres today, the continued growth in land and labor productivity has resulted in an increase in production value in the agriculture sector,” said Joseph Deviney, Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner. “Santa Clara County agriculture production ranks sixth in the state for land productivity per acre.”
Initiated by the County’s Agricultural Commissioner, the study outlines the eight sectors of local agricultural industries including crop production, mushroom farms, nurseries, livestock, wine and agritourism, support industries, primary processing, and food manufacturing. These industries provide diverse and stable employment opportunities with 8,100 jobs created annually.
Similar to other industries in Santa Clara County, agriculture has been subject to constant change and development. Although urban development has reduced the local agricultural resource base, there has been substantial growth in the value of agriculture per acre and per worker because of shifts in crop mix toward higher-value commodities and increases in productivity.
“The Economic Contribution of Agriculture Study provides an analysis of the direct, indirect, and induced costs that make up the total $1.6 billion total output value for the industry,” Deviney said.
Key points highlighted in the report include:
• The resource base of agricultural land declined significantly in the 1980s and 1990s, but has recently stabilized. The value per acre, currently $11,000, and the value per worker created by Santa Clara County agriculture has continued to increase and has never been higher.
• Like the other high-tech industries in Santa Clara County, agriculture is growing in productivity per unit worker and per unit land.
•The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority estimated that the total value of Santa Clara County natural capital exceeds $45 billion. Agriculture preserves some of these vital natural processes and enhances the character of the county.
•Agriculture can be viewed as self-financing open space, providing important ecosystem value to county residents.
To view the report, or learn more about Santa Clara County agriculture, visit the Santa Clara County Department of Agriculture website at:www.sccgov.org/sites/ag/news/Pages/reports.aspx.