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Cornell Analysis: Local Data Shows NY's Apple Industry Has Much Larger Economic Impact

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A team of researchers at Cornell University has found that New York State’s apple industry might have a much larger economic impact than traditional analyses might suggest.  Lead Author and Associate Professor at the Dyson School of Applied Economics Todd Schmit says even he was surprised that the difference came in at 21 percent.  He says the new model uses locally sourced data, right down to what farmers are spending their income on, and where.

"When you have these more localized analyses, to me it gives more weight to the importance of trying to get more informed numbers of the specific industry spending patterns.  That's really focusing on those bigger budget items, including labor and the wages you pay your employees."

Schmit says the analysis also includes impacts up and down the supply chain.  He acknowledges that gathering this data is time consuming and expensive.  At the same time, he says the typical numbers and studies just don’t have the detail that policy makers might be looking for.

"Traditional models often rely on state and national level secondary data compiled by great organizations and associations.  But you can lose things in the averaging of results from these more aggregate sources."

Schmit says despite the difference in economic impact, it doesn’t necessarily relate to apple production.  New York ranks a distant second to Washington State.  The research appeared in the Journal of Agriclture, Food Systems, and Community Development, and was supported in part by the New York Apple Association.

In a related report, Cornell University reports the team found every $1 of apples or apple products sold in New York state generates an additional 58 cents spent in related industries, such as support services and supplies.  Every apple industry job generates an additional 0.48 jobs, and every $1 of direct apple-industry gross domestic product generates an additional $1.14 in GDP from related business activity in the state.  In total, the apple industry supports more than $2 billion in industry output and nearly 12,000 jobs.