July 11, 2013
Some might call it a lofty statement to say that agriculture is the backbone of the central Washington economy. You may say tourism, recreation, technology, industrial and construction industries must rank towards the top. But a new study released this week shows that it may not be such a high-and-mighty assertion.
Ag. Water & Power Users of Eastern Washington released a study this week highlighting irrigated agriculture production in Grant County.
The study was conducted by Sieverkropp Consulting. It found Grant County agriculture’s revenues were about $2.4 billion in 2011. The study indicates Grant County Ag contributed $762 million in returns to labor, investment, and payment of taxes that same year.
According to the study, 41 percent of Grant county jobs come from agriculture and agriculture manufacturing. That’s over 17,000 full- and part-time workers. Those employees were paid over $500 million in wages in 2011.
Grant County uses 63 percent of all its acres for farming. Over 43 percent of which are irrigated. Elizabeth Sieverkropp, owner of the consulting firm that conducted the study, said that is a huge number. It makes Grant County the largest irrigated county in Washington based on acreage.
Grant has also been ranked number one or two in the state for value of agriculture production for the past several years. Nationally, Grant County is ranked 5th for irrigated acreage and 11th for value of crops produced in the entire U.S.