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Agriculture's Impact on the North Bay Economy

November 8, 2012 12:00 PM


November 9, 2012

Agriculture's Impact on the North Bay Economy

Rohnert Park, CA--Have you ever wondered what impact local agriculture has on the economy? A new report completed by the Center for Regional Economic Analysis (CREA) at Sonoma State University reveals that it is quite a large one -for every 100 agricultural workers, there are, on average, 38 additional jobs supported, producing $15.8 million in business revenue, and $521,000 in state and local tax receipts. The report looks at the way North Bay farmers build value in their products for dairy, grass-fed beef and grain operations in the North Bay.  This report was commissioned by UC Cooperative Extension in Sonoma County, in partnership with various agencies around the North Bay. Dr. Robert Eyler, a professor at Sonoma State University, spoke about the findings of the report Friday morning at the Economic Development Forum for the North Coast Region.

"The objectives of the research were to identify the value chain for dairies in Sonoma and Marin counties, as well as grass-fed beef ranching and grain farming in Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Marin, and Sonoma counties," said Dr. Eyler. Value-added activities are done by farmers to transform livestock or crops into a salable product.  Differences in local findings compared to industry benchmarks, especially regional comparisons to state and national models of firms in the same industry, provide policy makers with insight to what regional challenges farmers, ranchers, and support industries face. Analyzing value chains can also identify regional needs when goods and services to support farming and ranching do not exist and thus come at a higher price (i.e. earning less profit from trying to add more value).  

The economic impact analyses provide estimates of how each agricultural business in this report affects both job creation, and generates business and tax revenues in the North Bay.  Each economic impact analysis is based on 100 workers in each county for each industry.  Policy makers can use the economic impact data to understand the broad economic impact that these agricultural industries have on the North Bay region, and the other industries involved in both supplying and supporting agriculture. They can also use the data to understand how each industry's expansion can affect the expansion of other businesses.  The Sonoma and Marin counties agricultural industry (dairy, grass-fed beef ranching, and grain farming combined) generated a total of $47.4 million in business revenue and $1.6 million in state and local tax receipts. For every 100 agricultural workers, there are numerous additional jobs supported throughout the counties: 31 by dairies, 63 by grass-fed beef ranching, and 21 by grain farming.

This economic activity supports industries as diverse as food manufacturing to medical practices, from investment banking and accounting, to bars and restaurants.  North Bay agriculture, through its economic impacts, has a broad reach through the regional economy.  The value chains for farmers show that they must purchase both labor and supplies, which direct regional economic development efforts, to provide local sources of each to support these important industries.


About the Sonoma State University Center for Regional Economic Analysis
The Center of Regional Economic Analysis (CREA) at SSU provides first-rate research, data, and analysis for local industry and governments. Our mission is to produce and disseminate new information in the general area of economic research, and in the specific areas of business economics, economic development, regional economics, and fiscal policy. The CREA serves the business community, federal, state and local governments, individuals and SSU. A special emphasis is placed on businesses in technological and agricultural fields as well as governments in the SSU service area. In addition, the CREA staff does contract research on business and economic problems for governmental organizations and private industry. Learn more at

About the UC Cooperative Extension
In Sonoma County, the UC Cooperative Extension academic staff is at the forefront of change, working to preserve agriculture, helping communities shape wise public policy, and strengthening community development and leadership in our youth and adults. University Advisors and Representatives are the most important link in the Cooperative Extension System. We conduct research on a wide range of subjects and extend our findings to business and industry, consumers, educators, and the community at large. Backed by the resources of the nine University of California campuses, our educational programs use practical applied research information to solve community problems. We consult with individuals and organizations, publish newsletters, produce information for mass media, and conduct seminars and workshops. Learn more at

For more detailed information about the Agriculture's Impact, see here:

Implan Model.pdf




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