WATSONVILLE, Calif.--The Central Coast is home to a multi-billion dollar agriculture industry. It economically supports the majority of the region. But a new study went a step further to explain just how far reaching the impact is.
In Santa Cruz county alone the agriculture industry accounts for almost one and a half billion dollars. It's created 11,000 jobs and even as the economy has taken a nose dive and is slow to recover, the agriculture production value was up 28% during past the decade, according to the study conducted by Agricultural Impact Associates LLC, a local firm specializing in economic analysis.
What the study also found was a trickle-down effect the "ag" business has on companies that don't step foot in the fields. Because of how much the agriculture industry has expanded to a global level, businesses like travel agencies, legal services, local catering and office supply companies are also prospering.
But, there are still some middleman companies that thrive and dive with the agriculture industry. Sambrailo packaging continues to serve the agriculture business as a family-run company 90 years after it began in 1923.
"As the valley has evolved and developed into other commodities, we've grown with it," said Jim Scattini, Sambrailo's marketing director.
The new economic analysis report shows a near 70 percent increase of production value for fruit crops over ten years. That's a bump of over $155 million.
The ten-year study found there is significant interactions among different businesses, said Dr. Jeff Langholz, an author of the study. Somehow those businesses are profiting from the crops you see bordering most of highway one on the central coast.
"So what we've documented here are the ripples that spread through the local economy that start with agriculture," said Langholz.
For the full study click here.