A report that was recently published demonstrates that the California citrus industry has an economic impact of $7.12 billion. The study commissioned by the Citrus Research Board (CRB), ‘Economic Impact of California’s Citrus Industry,’ found that in 2016 the citrus industry added $1.7 billion to the state’s Gross Domestic Product.
“In updating our economic analysis, we selected a well-known expert, Bruce Babcock, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, to conduct the research. His findings quantified the significant impact of citrus on California’s economic well-being,” CRB President Gary Schulz stated in a press release.
In the report, Babcock used the most recent marketing year of data compilation and found the direct value of citrus production totaled $3.4 billion for the 2016-17 season. There was also some additional economic activity that came from companies that supply goods and services to the citrus industry, totaling $1.26 billion. The data showed added economic activity of $2.46 billion worth of household spending income that was generated by the state’s citrus industry.
Commenting on the report, California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen stated, “The “wow” factor in this report is something as it relates to gross revenues and positive impact for the state, people and local communities. This enthusiasm must be tempered by the fact that huanglongbing can destroy all this in a matter of a year if the partnerships that exist between the industry and government cannot thwart the spread of this insidious disease.”
As the California citrus industry continues to address growing regulatory costs along with pest and disease pressure, Babcock evaluated the effects of a potential 20 percent reduction in total citrus acreage. The data showed a loss of 7,350 jobs, $127 million in employee impact and a reduction of California’s GDP by $501 million.