Policy

Economic Impact Study

Efficient irrigation is critical to long-term sustainability of water resources. Quantifying the industry’s economic impact is important to:

  • Document irrigation’s direct and indirect contributions to output, earnings and employment.
  • Increase the association and industry’s credibility with policymakers, regulatory agencies and other green organizations.
  • Provide insight into critical variables for members’ business planning.

The industry’s size and scope complicates this analysis:

  • Government industrial classifications fail to adequately capture the industry.
  • The diversity of irrigation products, services and market segments makes it difficult to calculate the industry’s total impact.
  • The number of large, privately-held companies limits available public data.

To address this gap, in 2009 the Irrigation Association commissioned a study to quantify the irrigation industry’s direct and indirect impact on the U.S. economy. Completed in April 2010, the study’s preliminary estimates indicate that the irrigation industry contributes:

  • More than $19 billion per year to gross domestic product.
  • Almost 150,000 jobs in the United States.

Based on initial feedback that these numbers may underestimate the industry’s impact, IA is currently evaluating next steps to validate this data. The association plans additional research to further refine the model and monitor trends.

The study’s executive summary is available for free download; the complete study is available to IA members only.