The Western Pistachio Association (WPA) announced from its 2011 Annual Meeting that pistachio growers have a significant impact on the states' economies in three primary growing regions: California, Arizona and New Mexico. As a result of collective grower spending, pistachio growers create nearly $682.5 million annually, or $1.9 million each day of the year, in "ripple effect" business activity, according to a new WPA-commissioned study conducted by Dennis H. Tootelian, Ph.D., Tootelian & Associates.

"The goal of the study was to demonstrate the overall impact of the pistachio growers' spending and their ability to generate business activity, employment, personal income and tax revenue for other industries and the states they operate in overall," said Tootelian, who is also Director of the Center for Small Business at California State University, Sacramento. "Even though we took a very conservative approach to measuring the data, the results showed a very sizeable impact to California – in particular – where the majority of pistachios are grown, but to Arizona and New Mexico as well."

The research indicates pistachio growers spend nearly $415.3 million each year to produce the pistachio crop. This spending spurs a wave of ripple effect economic activity that, in turn, creates 5,910 full-time equivalent jobs each year. With this increase in employment, more than $224.4 million is generated annually in wages and salaries for new employees, as well as for the expanded incomes for existing industry jobs.

Additionally, more than $24.4 million annually in tax revenue and other business licenses and fees are generated from the economic activity created by pistachio growers – that is $66,849 in funding each day of the year. Depending on how these funds are used, they can help pay for state and local programs that further benefit the residents of California, Arizona and New Mexico.

"I grew up in agriculture and we growers have a great amount of pride in the food we grow," said Jim Zion, WPA Chairman and Managing Partner of Meridian Nut Growers. "This report demonstrates that pistachio growers touch virtually every segment of the economy and positively influence the communities where our growers live and work."

"This report shows us how we as an industry contribute to the economy – through substantial job creation, funding for community programs, literally millions in tax revenues to the states where growers operate – all by simply growing the best possible product for consumers," said WPA Executive Director Richard Matoian.

The report demonstrates the impact pistachio growers have on the states' economies annually, based on averages during an eight year time span from 2000-2008. These averages were reviewed by growers through surveys and interviews and adjusted to reflect 2010 estimations. Because agricultural revenues and expenditures can fluctuate significantly from year-to-year depending on climate, pest, market and other conditions, an "average year" was created based on historical and industry operating statistics.

The study was implemented by utilizing industry statistics, conducting grower surveys and interviews, and analyzing the data through the IMPLAN model, which examines economic relationships between businesses and between businesses and consumers. This impact analysis then measures changes in economic variables on an entire economy.

Data used to compute the analysis through IMPLAN mainly comes from the Census of Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture; California Department of Food and Agriculture's California Agricultural Production Statistics 2009-2010; and, University of California Cooperative Extension's Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Pistachios.

The full economic impact report and related fact sheets can be found at www.westernpistachio.org.