The latest installment of an annual report from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences reveals some good news about the state’s economy – from 2007 to 2016, the portion of Florida’s Gross State Product (GSP) generated by agriculture, natural resources and food industries grew at a faster rate than the state’s total GSP, a statistic commonly used as a gauge of economic strength.

This long-term trend indicates that Florida’s agriculture, natural resources and food industries sector is strong, and helping keep the state’s economy on firm footing, said project leader Christa Court, a UF/IFAS Extension assistant scientist.

“The agriculture, natural resources and food industries sector continues to be one of the three biggest contributors to Florida’s economy, along with tourism and construction,” Court said. “It is the sector responsible for the greatest percentage of state employment, and is usually third or fourth among all economic sectors in terms of contribution to Florida’s GSP, which is a measurement of the value-added or labor income and business profits within a sector.”

The report, “Economic Contributions of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Food Industries in Florida in 2016,” was released this week by the UF/IFAS Economic Impact Analysis Program, based in the food and resource economics department. The report is available online at It is part of an annual series; the latest edition incorporates data from 2016, the most recent year available.

This year, the project team began using an improved method to develop the report, and recalculated previous results for 2007 through 2015, expressing the results in 2016 dollars, she said.

“With these recalculated figures, users can make apples-to-apples comparisons from one year to another and examine trends for individual industry sectors,” Court said. “We were already confident that the agriculture, natural resources and food industries sector had seen pretty steady growth from 2007 to 2016, and these new results confirm our expectations.”

Florida’s overall GSP rose by about 17.6 percent from 2007 to 2016, Court said, but during the same time period there was a 28.6 percent increase for agriculture, natural resources and food industries.

The numbers are encouraging but Court notes that they represent averages that were calculated by combining data from 121 industry sectors.

“Certainly, we see a positive growth trend overall, and that’s a good thing,” she said. “But not all of those sectors have been expanding at the same rate, or even expanding at all, during this 10-year period.”

The report presents economic data under seven broad industry headings – Crop, Livestock, Forestry and Fisheries Production; Agricultural Inputs and Services; Food and Kindred Products Manufacturing; Food and Kindred Products Distribution; Forest Products Manufacturing; Mining; Nature-based Recreation.

The 135-page report provides detailed data tables that break down economic contributions by year, by the seven broad industry headings, and by county – covering all 67 Florida counties.

For calendar year 2016, important statistics for Florida’s agriculture, natural resources and food industries include:

  • Direct employment contribution of 1.68 million full-time and part-time jobs, and total employment contribution (including multiplier effects in other sectors) of 2.29 million jobs, representing 19.9 percent of the state workforce.
  • Direct industry output, or sales revenues, of $165.51 billion and total output contributions (including multiplier effects in other sectors) of $263.20 billion.
  • Value-added contributions of $137.23 billion, representing 14.7 percent of Florida’s Gross State Product.
  • Combined exports to foreign countries and other U.S. states totaling $47.70 billion.
  • Taxes on production and imports paid to local, state and federal governments totaling $12.79 billion.
  • Labor income contributions of $80.82 billion, including employee wages, fringe benefits and proprietor income.

Figures for the 2016 report were developed by Court, who is assistant director of the Economic Impact Analysis Program, and department colleagues Alan Hodges, the program’s director, and Mohammad Rahmani, a research associate. ​

Because the project team adopted a new approach this year for calculating economic impact figures, Court cautions that statistics contained in the latest report cannot be accurately compared with results found in previous editions of this report series.

Source: University of Florida (Tom Nordlie)