Crops and Farming
Crops and Farming

New study: San Luis Obispo agriculture contributes $2.54 billion to our local economy

Author: Martin Settevendemie, County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer
Date: 11/8/2019 4:04:58 PM

San Luis Obispo County agriculture contributes $2.54 billion to the local economy and supports nearly 14,000 jobs, Agricultural Commissioner Martin Settevendemie announced today as he released a comprehensive economic analysis of one of the county's top industries.


San Luis Obispo County agriculture contributes $2.54 billion to the local economy and supports nearly 14,000 jobs, Agricultural Commissioner Martin Settevendemie announced today as he released a comprehensive economic analysis of one of the county's top industries.

“This study goes beyond our annual crop report.” said Settevendemie. “It captures not just the direct effects of farm production, but also the ripple effects of agricultural businesses and agricultural processing. With the many economic challenges facing local businesses and governments, it's important to better understand the full contributions of agriculture to our local economy and local employment. This study helps us to understand the importance of agriculture in our local community and gives us the opportunity to celebrate all of the hard-working agricultural producers in San Luis Obispo County”

To put the numbers in perspective, San Luis Obispo agriculture contributes $6.97 million per day into the local economy. That's over $290,000 every hour, or $4,833 per minute.

The study was conducted for the San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture by Drs. Jeff Langholz and Fernando DePaolis of Agricultural Impact Associates LLC, a California firm specializing in economic analysis.

Some highlights from their detailed analysis:

  • Agriculture's $1.79 billion in direct economic output represents 7.0% of the county total. Agriculture also contributes an additional $758 million in multiplier effects, which are direct expenditures by agricultural companies and their employees.
  • The overall economic contributions of agriculture to our local economy has increased by $670 million since this same type of study was conducted back in 2013.
  • San Luis Obispo County agricultural production value grew an impressive 33.9% over the past decade, even after adjusting to account for inflation.
  • Local agriculture has a solid "diversity" score using a popular quantitative index that has trended upward since the last economic study was conducted in 2013, making agriculture and the county resilient to economic shocks.

“We cannot think of agriculture in SLO County as an isolated industry that only benefits farmers and ranchers,” said Brent Burchett, Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau.  “This report equips decisionmakers and community leaders to better understand how agriculture is interconnected with our entire economy.  When we make policies about water infrastructure, land use, or other regulations, impacts to agriculture must be considered in a broader, economy-wide perspective.  This county’s prosperity depends on keeping our farmers and ranchers in business.  We are grateful for the work and resources put forward by our County Agricultural Commissioner’s office to demonstrate the far-reaching contributions agriculture makes to SLO County.”

The full 2019 and the 2013 Economic Impact Reports can be downloaded from our Document Library.