P.M.A.: Produce industry adds $554 billion to economy

by Erica Shaffer
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NEWARK, DEL. —The U.S. fruit, vegetable and mass-market floral industry contributes $554 billion annually to the nation's economy, according to an economic reach and impact study published Feb. 17 by the Produce Marketing Association (P.M.A.).

"You’ll see that our industry is really a big deal," said Bryan Silbermann, president and chief operating officer of the P.M.A.

Among the study’s findings:

U.S. fresh produce and mass-market floral industry accounts for $275 billion in direct economic output. This includes production, marketing and distribution, retail and food service. The total economic output was more than $554 billion when the industry’s "ripple effects" were considered. This included suppliers and workers.

The industry accounted for 4.23% of U.S. gross domestic product (G.D.P.), 2.7 million full-time equivalent positions, and nearly $72 billion in wages.

Kathy Means, vice-president of government relations for the P.M.A., said the figures would be a valuable resource for the industry's lobbying efforts at the national and state levels. She added that the P.M.A. will be encouraging its members to use the study to advance their businesses.

"This gives us an opportunity to be a player in more places with hard facts that cannot be ignored," Ms. Means said.

The study detailed the industry’s reach and impact by state and congressional district, outlining full-time employment, wages and economic output. It encompasses all levels of the produce and mass market floral industries, including farmers, grocery stores, restaurants and many other industry segments.

Batelle, a non-profit independent research and development organization, conducted the study. The methodology used economic impact modeling, which describes the economic effects of an industry, Ms. Means said. The economic data used came from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is part of the U.S. Census Bureau. The study used figures from 2006, the most recent year for which economic data was available.

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