( Courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council )

U.S. highbush blueberry growers generate more than $4.7 billion in annual economic impact, accounting for more than $12.7 million flowing into the U.S. economy every day, according to a study commissioned by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

There are 12,739 blueberry farms in the U.S., according to Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

“Behind every farm are growers who not only tend a truly remarkable superfruit, but also stimulate business activity, create thousands of jobs and contribute mightily to the economy,” Cronquist said in the release.

The study also showed benefits of the U.S. blueberry industry, relating to:

  • Jobs: U.S. highbush blueberry growers create and sustain more than 44,535 full-time equivalent jobs as a result of their business activities;
  • Labor income: Dollars going to wages generate nearly $1.8 billion in labor income;
  • Indirect business taxes: Every year, more than $145 million in indirect business taxes (not including income tax) are generated by the growers.
  • “It is clear that blueberry growers play a significant role in strengthening the economic climate of the U.S.,” Cronquist said in the release. “Their activities are diffused throughout the economy, touching nearly every aspect of life throughout the country.”

In blueberry-producing states, the study reports the industry’s economic impacts (in millions and jobs created):

  • Michigan: $530.4/6,600 jobs;
  • Georgia: $521.8/4,140 jobs;
  • California: $458.6/4,240 jobs;
  • Washington: $464.4/4,450 jobs; and
  • Oregon: $353.5/3,505 jobs.

The study was conducted in April by Dennis Tootelian, emeritus professor of marketing and the former director of the Center for Small Business in College of Business Administration at California State University.

The full study is available at ushbc.org.

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