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NDSU Completes Study on Economic Contributions of Agriculture

Researchers at North Dakota State University (NDSU) recently completed an inaugural study on the economic contributions of agriculture to the state of North Dakota. Results show a contribution of nearly $31 billion to the economy and more than 110,000 jobs.

The NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics and the NDSU Center for Social Research partnered to capture the economic contributions of all segments of agriculture in a single, comprehensive assessment.

“This examination is the first time that agriculture has been broadly defined to include all aspects of the industry,” says Nancy Hodur, director for the NDSU Center for Social Research. “Past studies looked only at a single segment of agriculture, such as an individual commodity.”

“Agriculture in North Dakota is much more than farm production and includes handling, transportation, processing and manufacturing,” says Dean Bangsund, NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics research scientist. “When all of agriculture is combined, its impact is significant.”

Key data from the study show that:

  • Agriculture represents 20% to 25% of the state’s economy.
  • The total economic contribution is $30.8 billion.
  • One out of every five jobs in the state is supported by agriculture.
  • Of the 110,480 agriculture-related jobs in the state, about 43,000 jobs are involved directly in agricultural production and processing, and about 67,400 jobs are required to support the agriculture industry.
  • Labor income for agriculture-related jobs is $7 billion.

“The data shows that agriculture’s impact is far broader than farms and rural communities,” says Hodur. “This study demonstrates the breadth of agriculture and its importance to not only rural North Dakota but the entire state.”

“Agriculture is critical to North Dakota’s economy and is a driver of economic activity in all 53 counties,” says Greg Lardy, vice president for Agricultural Affairs at NDSU. “This study provides the baseline data needed to help move the industry forward. As the state adds additional value-added processing capacity, the economic contribution of agriculture will continue to grow.”

The study was funded by the American Crystal Sugar Company, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, North Dakota Dry Bean Council, North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Soybean Council, North Dakota Stockmen's Association, Northern Canola Growers Association, Northern Pulse Growers Association, and Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.

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