The total output of Arizona agriculture and its related effects has achieved a record $6.6 billion annually, ranking the food and fiber sector as a major component of Arizona's economy.

This is reported in a University of Arizona study published in November 2004 by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC). The report, “Economic Impact from Agricultural Production in Arizona” was based on research conducted by research specialist Jorgen Mortensen.

“The study shows that the economic activity associated with agriculture remains important to Arizona's economy,” said Alan Ker, AREC department head.

“Agriculture is much more than bread and butter,” said Eugene Sander, vice provost and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It comprises farm and ranch business families across the state. Agriculture is embracing technology and research to produce high quality and competitively priced food and fiber, while adding significantly to Arizona's economy.”

Major conclusions of the study:

The direct, induced and ripple effects of Arizona's agricultural output amount to $6.6 billion.

The value-added or economic impact from production agriculture in Arizona is roughly $3.0 billion.

More than 72,000 jobs are created by the Arizona's agricultural industry. For every one job in production agriculture, almost two jobs are created in the rest of the state.

Economic benefits from agriculture are crucial for local schools, public services and the tax base in rural districts and small towns. Agriculture plays a major role in the use and management of land and other natural resources.

According to Kevin Rogers, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau, “This is a report card on the success of the agricultural industry in Arizona and its ripple impact on the rest of the state's economy.”

The study was primarily funded by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture through the Arizona Department of Agriculture, with additional financial support from the Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Cotton Growers Association, Arizona Cattle Growers, Agri-Business Council, Arizona Nursery Association, Western Growers Association, Arizona Agricultural Aviation Association and the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association.

“This study is important because it reminds people living in metropolitan areas of the farmers and ranchers across the state, and the contribution they make to the economy of Arizona,” said Don Butler, director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.