Report says Del. agriculture an $8B industry

A report says the annual economic impact of the state’s agriculture industry is about $8 billion.

The report was released by the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It says the industry makes an economic impact beyond the $1.1 billion in yearly value of agricultural products that are sold by farms in the state.

“This study was needed because the impact of agriculture in Delaware is much larger than farm receipts, and (the impact) should account for processing of agricultural products,” said Robin Morgan, dean of the college. “Agriculture is a large and vital part of Delaware’s economy, and our understanding of its impact needs to be as accurate as possible.”

The report factored in money that workers spend and a broad definition of the agriculture industry. For example, it shows that the processing of farm products adds a previously unaccounted for $3.8 billion. Forestry production and processing add an additional $831 million, with agriculture-related services, such as crop dusting and ditch digging, adding $28 million.

In addition, the report reveals that the majority of the economic value of agriculture comes from the production and processing of poultry products, with an industry output of $3.2 billion and over 13,000 jobs.

Gov. Jack Markell says the industry is critically important to the state’s “past, present and future.”

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