Food and agriculture directly account for 312,000 Alabama jobs, or about 14% of the workforce, according to a new study released by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The “Feeding the Economy” study was designed to measure the direct and indirect impact of U.S. food and agricultural industries on factors ranging from employment and wages to exports and tax revenue.
Alabama Farmers Federation National Affairs Director Mitt Walker said the study demonstrates agriculture’s importance to the state and nation.
“Agriculture is our largest industry, but its economic impact often is overlooked,” Walker said. “Farming and farm products provide jobs for millions of Americans and generate billions of dollars for the economy. This study provides compelling data we can use as the Federation advocates for farmers in Washington and Montgomery.”
Nationwide, 22.8 million people work in the food and agriculture industries, representing about 15% of the U.S. employment base. The study included direct farming and ranching jobs, as well as manufacturing, wholesale and retail. Grocery and food service work accounted for the most jobs.
According to the study, 13% of Alabama food and agriculture jobs are farming-related, with 87% in the downstream supply chain. Nationally, about 11% of the total are on-farm jobs.
When the study considered the indirect and induced impact of agriculture on the economy, it showed 579,000 Alabamians — or 26% of the workforce — owe a portion of their livelihoods to farming.
Other Alabama highlights included:
Direct Wages — $8.09 billion
Direct Output — $34.71 billion
Business Taxes — $8.33 billion
Exports — $551.58 million
Total Wages — $21.39 billion
Total Output — $83.86 billion
Across the country, direct food and agricultural jobs represent total wages of $729 billion, federal tax contributions of $537 billion, state tax contributions of $376 billion and economic output of $2.1 trillion — proving agriculture and its related industries have a sizable impact on the U.S. economy, the report said.
State and congressional district reports are available at FeedingTheEconomy.com.