The California citrus industry is valued at nearly $3.5 billion with over 3,000 growers farming 320,000 acres throughout the state. The size and scale of citrus production has both direct and indirect effects on California’s overall economy.
“If you think about primary production, which citrus is, it requires that the citrus growers buy what’s called ‘intermediate inputs’ or inputs from other industries such as nursery services, chemicals, pesticides, irrigation, finance and all of those things,” said Bruce Babcock, professor in the School of Public Policy at University of California Riverside. “When citrus growers spend their revenue on those other industries, those industries can also prosper, so there’s a cycling through of impact that is just beyond the citrus industry itself.”
Babcock noted that along with farm owners, employees also contribute to the overall economic impact of the citrus industry. “When people work in the citrus industry, they spend the money they earn in wages and salaries, and when they spend that money at the grocery store, at the car dealer, wherever they spend their money, that also cycles through,” Babcock said. “From this primary production of citrus you get essentially a doubling of the impact.”