Study looks at Grant County ag impact
By DAN WHEAT
MOSES LAKE, Wash. -- Grant County agricultural revenue totaled $2.4 billion in 2011, according to a study completed for the Ag Water and Power Users of Eastern Washington.
The revenue is farmgate value plus economic multipliers that take into account transactions between agricultural businesses within the county, said Elizabeth Sieverkropp, a consultant and author of the study.
While the national average of economic impact multipliers is 2.51, Grant County's is 2.65 because of the sheer volume of agricultural business and transactions between them, Sieverkropp said.
In other words, for every $1 of agricultural products sold an additional $1.65 of economic impact occurs in the county, she said. The multiplier would be higher if the impact of Grant County ag products outside the county could be measured, she said.
In addition, county agriculture contributed $762 million returns to business or business owners, investment and taxes in 2011 and employed 10,139 full- and part-time workers for $256 million in wages, Sieverkropp said.
Grant County leads the state in irrigated farm acreage with more than 43 percent of its farm acres irrigated. It is second only to Yakima County in value of agricultural production, Sieverkropp said.
Nationally, Grant County is ranked 5th for irrigated acreage and 11th in value of crops produced by USDA. The county is 3rd nationally in value of hay production, 11th for vegetable and potato production and 14th for fruit. It also is large in sweet corn, mint, wine grapes, onions and snap peas.
The study was done, Sieverkropp said, because Ag Water & Power Users of Eastern Washington wanted more quantification than what was available of the agricultural impact of Grant County.
The group was founded in 2008 to limit power and water rates affecting irrigators and advocate new supplies of irrigation water through conservation and additional storage.