Folsom, Calif. – Growers of U.S. highbush blueberries generate more than $4.7 billion in annual economic impact, translating to more than $12.7 million flowing into the U.S. economy every day of the year.
“The U.S. highbush blueberry industry – including 12,739 blueberry farms – is a powerful financial force,” said Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC). “Behind every farm are growers who not only tend a truly remarkable superfruit, but also stimulate business activity, create thousands of jobs and contribute mightily to the economy.”
In addition to the $4.7 billion in total economic impact, which includes several factors related to increased business activity as a result of growing blueberries, a new economic impact study commissioned by the USHBC further reveals:
- Jobs: U.S. highbush blueberry growers alone create and sustain more than 44,535
full-time equivalent jobs each year. These jobs are a result of the business activities of growers and the multiplier effect their purchases generate in a variety of farming and nonfarming sectors.
It is important to note that this substantial job number does not include the jobs supported by blueberry processors or handlers. We would see even higher numbers if the full blueberry supply chain was considered, but for the purposes of this study, we focused exclusively on the economic impact of highbush blueberry growers, said Cronquist.
- Labor Income: Nearly $1.8 billion in labor income is generated by the business activities of growers – equating to more than $4.9 million each day. These are dollars going to wages and salaries for new employment, as well as expanded incomes to those already in the labor force for activities such as overtime pay. These dollars are then diffused throughout the U.S. economy as the funds are spent on crucial goods and services such as food, housing, transportation and health care, Cronquist added.
- Indirect Business Taxes: Each year, more than $145 million in indirect business taxes, not including income taxes, are generated by U.S. highbush blueberry growers. These collective indirect business taxes translate to nearly $400,000 per day. To put this in context, the annual tax revenue generated from U.S. highbush blueberry growers is more than the 2019 U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Operations and Support budget ($129 million) or the 2019 U.S. Department of Energy’s Cyber Security, Energy Security and Emergency Resources budget ($96 million).
“It is clear that blueberry growers play a significant role in strengthening the economic climate of the United States,” said Cronquist. “Their activities are diffused throughout the economy, touching nearly every aspect of life throughout the country.”
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Growers Stimulate Major Economic Impact in Key Growing States
In addition to the dramatic national economic influence of highbush blueberry growers, contributions are also significant at the state level in terms of financial influx and jobs created. A breakout of the grower impact in the top eight highbush blueberry states is included here:
About the Study
The economic impact study – commissioned by the USHBC – was conducted in April 2020 by Dennis Tootelian, Ph.D., emeritus professor of marketing and the former director of the Center for Small Business in the College of Business Administration at California State University, Sacramento. The analysis is based on both U.S. highbush blueberry acres in production and in development. It is important to note that these projections are based on annual average expenditures, which means that this impact is expected to occur each year that such spending occurs. National acreage statistics were secured from the United States Department of Agriculture. The full economic impact study and analysis is available at ushbc.org.
About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
Established in 2000, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is a federal agriculture research and promotion program with independent oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USHBC represents blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. USHBC was established by blueberry growers and currently has 2,500 growers, packers and importers. USHBC is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at ushbc.org.