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Battelle Study Values Produce and Floral Industry Economic Impact at 554B

Posted on Feb 17, 2009


NEWARK. DE. 17 February, 2009– The U.S. fruit, vegetable and mass-market floral industry contributes $554 billion annually to the nation’s economy, impacting every state and every congressional district in the country, according to a new study from Battelle. The first-of-its-kind economic impact study of the industry – titled Economic Reach and Impact of the Fresh Produce and Floral Industry, commissioned by Produce Marketing Association (PMA) – used unprecedented economic modeling to analyze and measure the industry’s field-to-fork reach.

“This is the first study to reach across the value chain to define the full impact of the industry on the U.S. economy, from the farm all the way through retail and foodservice,” said PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann. “Our industry has substantial economic and employment impact in the United States, contributing significantly to the economies of every state and congressional district in the country.”

Overall, the study determined the U.S. fresh produce and mass-market floral industry accounts for more than $275 billion in direct economic output, and a total economic impact of more than $554 billion when its “ripple” effects are included. Every dollar of production value ultimately generates $16.75 of total economic value. 

The study encompasses all levels of participation in the produce and mass market floral industry, including local farmers, organic production, farmers markets, conventional production, all types of grocery stores and restaurants, and everyone in between. It also accounts for the ripple impact of suppliers’ businesses and worker spending.

“The results show our industry’s total impact is 4.23 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and one-third of total U.S. animal and crop production,” said Kathy Means, PMA vice president for government relations and public affairs. “We account for 1.9 percent of all U.S. employment, providing the equivalent of 2.7 million full-time positions, and nearly $72 billion in wages.”

The study also details the industry’s reach and impact by state, as well as for each congressional district, outlining wages, employment and economic output.  The produce and mass-market floral industry contributed $1 billion or more in more than half of all congressional districts, with significant employment in many states -- 100,000 FTEs or more in five states and more than 50,000 in 15 states.” 

The Battelle report offers critical new information on a previously little-studied industry, as well as business and policy value to all industry segments, from private companies to associations to government. 

“The results have significant application to federal, state and local government efforts including lobbying, policymaking and program funding,” explained Means. “The statistics can be used by groups and individual companies in zoning, tax incentives, loan and grant requests, and business development proposals. Additionally, the employment information can help show the loss or creation of jobs resulting from industry influence.”

“Understanding and communicating our industry’s impact on the economy is essential to our ability to create and influence good public policy, including agriculture and nutrition policy,” said Silbermann. “The information from this study can help every company in this industry achieve its business goals. And PMA is already planning to use it to advance the industry’s policy interests at the federal and regional levels across the United States.”

A Battelle representative noted the challenges – and importance – of the unique study. “Developing an impact model for such a field-to-fork definition of an industry was a unique challenge,” said Marty Grueber, research leader with Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice in Columbus, Ohio. “We vetted the model structure and data sources with produce industry and economic modeling experts alike. Using the best data available, this model captures a high quality picture of the economic reach and impact of the fresh produce and mass-market floral industry in the United States. The magnitude and extent of the industry are incredible.”

PMA is developing a Webcast to summarize the study and its implications for industry members; it will be available via PMA’s website at later this month. An executive summary is available free of charge; the full report, with or without the state and congressional district information, can be purchased. 

About Produce Marketing Association (PMA)

Founded in 1949, the Produce Marketing Association is the leading trade association representing nearly 3,000 companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. Members rely on PMA year round for the business solutions they need to increase sales and consumption, build strong professional relationships, and expand their business opportunities. For more information, visit

About Battelle

As the world’s largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing needs through its four global businesses:  Laboratory Management; National Security; Health and Life Sciences; and Energy, Environment and Material Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $6.2 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. 

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide, including seven national laboratories for which Battelle has a significant management role on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Battelle also is one of the nation’s leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or, or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or

PMA contact:  Julia Stewart,, +1 (302) 738-7100, ext. 3008 


Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544