El Centro, California - Imperial County agriculture pumped $4.364 billion into the local economy in 2019 and supported more than 20,000 jobs, Agricultural Commissioner Carlos Ortiz announced today as he released the most comprehensive economic analysis to date of a key county industry.

 “This study goes beyond our annual agricultural report,” said Ortiz. “It captures not just the direct effects of farm production, but also local food processing, employment, and their ripple effects. During these uncertain economic times, it’s important to better understand how and where agriculture contributes to our economy and to local employment.” 

To put the contribution in perspective, Imperial County agriculture pumped $12.0 million into the county economy per day, or more than $498,000 per hour.  

The study was conducted for the Office of the Agricultural Commissioner by Drs. Jeff Langholz and Fernando DePaolis of Agricultural Impact Associates, a consulting firm specializing in agricultural economics. 

Key findings include: 

  • Of the $4.364 billion in total economic contribution, $2.919 billion came from direct economic output via production and processing, representing 23.9% of the county's total direct economic output, about one out of every 4.2 dollars. 
  • An additional $1.445 billion came from multiplier effects, including purchase of agricultural supplies and spending by employees. 
  • Of the 20,412 total jobs agriculture supported, 13,472 were direct employees in production and processing. This represents 16.8% of all county employment or about one out of every six jobs. The remaining 6,940 jobs were made possible through expenditures by agriculture companies, their suppliers, and employees. 
  • With an economic diversification index of 0.69, agriculture’s level of economic resiliency is the highest documented among California counties, and provides critical economic stability to the industry and county. 

“This report shows the importance of Imperial County agriculture as both an employer and a powerful economic engine,” said Shelby Trimm, Executive Director of the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association. “Every dollar earned creates ripples that support a healthy local economy.” 

Jeff Plourd, President of the Imperial County Farm Bureau, commented, “The Crop Report Plus is a great representation of Imperial Valley agriculture and the value it brings to our county. We appreciate the Ag Commissioner’s Office having this report developed which highlights the critical role agriculture plays in sustaining a healthy local economy.” 

The report, “Economic Contributions of Imperial County Agriculture,” was released today at a public event hosted by the Imperial County Office of the Agricultural Commissioner, at Farm Credit West, 485 Business Parkway, in Imperial. 

Drs. Langholz and DePaolis presented their findings to the news media, public officials, agricultural industry members, and the general public. Attendees included members of the Imperial County Farm Bureau; Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association; University of California Cooperative Extension, Imperial County; and many others from the local agricultural community both in person and via Zoom.