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8

News & Views Magazine

Edition 1, 2015

indirect and induced impacts accounting for another

more than $1 billion in value added output. Food and

beverage processing in Stanislaus County was responsible

for nearly 25,000 total jobs in 2012.

Rounding out the top five food and beverage processing

counties included in the study in terms of direct value-

added economic activity were Orange ($1.13 billion),

Sonoma ($1.05 billion) and Fresno ($967 million). Food

and beverage processing in Fresno County was directly

and indirectly responsible for over 24,500 jobs; the

comparable number for Sonoma County is 21,700

jobs. Alameda County, responsible for about 20,700

jobs, replaces Orange County in the top five based

on employment.

The greatest employment impacts on a percentage basis

are in rural counties and, in particular, counties in the

Central Valley, which have faced high unemployment

recently. Food and beverage processing contributes

nearly $20 billion in value added to the Central Valley

economy and nearly 205,000 jobs. The largest relative

impact of food and beverage processing is in Colusa

County, where the sector is responsibly for nearly half

(48%) of all jobs in the County. Food and beverage

processing is responsible for 20% or more of all jobs in

Kings, Merced, and Stanislaus Counties.

In sum, food and beverage processing is a key engine of

the California economy and an indispensible complement

to California’s agricultural production sector. Our study

is a reminder that agriculture’s impact in California does

not end at the farm gate. Farm production is only one

step in the process of bringing food and beverages to the

table, and much of agriculture’s economic impact occurs

beyond the farm gate.

Richard J. Sexton (

rich@primal.ucdavis.edu

) is Professor

and Chair in the Department of Agricultural and

Resource Economics at UC Davis. Josué Medellín-Azuara

(jmedellin@ucdavis.edu

) is a Research Fellow in the

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at

UC Davis. Tina L. Saitone (

saitone@primal.ucdavis.edu

)

is a Project Economist in the Department of Agricultural

and Resource Economics at UC Davis. The authors thank

the California League of Food Processors for funding

this study.

For additional information about the study, visit page 34.

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