The fresh produce industry in Nogales, Ariz., will see its contribution to the state’s economy spelled out in job numbers, revenue and other benchmarks with the expected release of an impact study by the University of Arizona.
Researchers there are taking their first look at the topic since 1997.
The results could be announced as early as March, said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.
“Back then, the industry generated about 11,000 jobs throughout the state,” Jungmeyer said. “Hopefully the new study shows that we’re generating a lot more. Since that time the amount of produce in this town has tripled by dollar value.”
The idea is to demonstrate how grower-shippers benefit industries in Santa Cruz County and Arizona whose interests extend beyond agriculture.
“Every time a truck drives here from Sacramento or Chicago to pick up a little produce, it’s buying fuel, maybe getting a repair or registering a hotel stay somewhere in the state,” Jungmeyer said. “A lot of the boxes that go to Mexico are sold by Arizona companies or national companies operating here. The point is that the fresh produce industry creates jobs beyond the simple sale of fresh produce.”
The prior study found a statewide impact of about $1 billion, including roughly $977 million in sales and $245 million in wages. Resulting revenues to Arizona exceeded $27 million.
For some idea of how times have changed, consider that $1 billion also equals the value of tomatoes that crossed at Nogales in 2011, exclusive of other impacts.
Whatever the new totals turn out to be, the research is expected to back the industry when it meets state legislators with requests for infrastructure improvements or other assistance.