Here is the NGWA newsletter's summary of the report:
The Family Farm Alliance and the Irrigation Association have jointly released a white paper titled “The Economic Impacts of Western Irrigated Agriculture: Impacts, Water Values, and Strategic Policy Questions.” The study can be viewed on the IA Web site by clicking here (PDF).
The white paper summarizes basic economic information current to irrigated agriculture and quantifies the impact of irrigated agriculture on annual household income in the western United States. The study found that the total production (farm gate) value for the 17 states comprising this western U.S. region was about $171 billion in 2011, with an estimated $117 billion tied to irrigated agriculture.
“It is clear that irrigated agriculture is a key economic driver for the western United States,” said John Farner, IA’s government affairs director. “Without water for agricultural irrigation, our nation would not only suffer significant food shortages, we would also see significant damage to our economy and job losses throughout the western United States.”
According to the study, the annual direct household income derived from the irrigated agriculture industry is estimated at $64 billion in the western United States region. After further analysis of the total direct, indirect, and deduced impacts, researchers determined the total household income impact to be an estimated $156 billion annually.
The paper was developed by the Pacific Northwest Project, working with FFA and IA, to address specific policy questions raised by senior staff from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water about water resources economics.
Here are the summary points from the report (click to enlarge):
"Little ol' boy in the Panhandle told me the other day you can still make a small fortune in agriculture. Problem is, you got to start with a large one." - Jim Hightower