Agriculture pumps $1.7B into local economy, rivaling Fort Drum



WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – $1.7 billion – that’s the financial footprint local agriculture has on the financial system. If that quantity amazes you, you’re not alone.

“I was very surprised,” mentioned Jefferson County Agricultural Coordinator Jay Matteson.

A report out by Cornell University’s Dr. Todd Schmit explains that Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, and Oswego counties generated $1.7 billion in 2019.

“We know that agriculture is a huge part of our local economy, but never anticipated that it was quite that large,” mentioned Matteson.

The report exhibits the dairy sector generated $428 million alone in 2019. Matteson says that quantity is way larger when you embrace dairy processing.

Grain and oilseed generated the second most at $77.3 million. Then beef and poultry at $50.9 million, and fruit and greens at $16 million.

The fifth largest sector of agricultural manufacturing is the greenhouse. To the proprietor of Zehr’s Flowers & Landscaping, that comes as no shock.

“We live in an agricultural-rich area, and agriculture land has become more valuable,” mentioned Samantha Widrick, proprietor.

Matteson additionally factors out that the $1.7 billion is basically local cash in comparison with the general public greenback pumped into Fort Drum. The Army publish had a roughly $1.5 billion financial footprint on the area in 2020.

Whichever approach it’s, Widrick says there’s something to buying local; loads of farmers are prospects right here.

“Shopping local for us is a favorite, one hand washes the other,” she mentioned.

Widrick says her enterprise has grown because the pandemic as extra persons are staying dwelling and choosing up gardening.

Matteson says he wouldn’t be stunned if different sectors have grown because the pandemic as nicely.

“We’ve seen an increase in production from our dairy plants,” he mentioned.

Matteson says there’s a robust demand for different local meals, like within the meat trade. He says county meat processors are struggling to maintain up with the demand and the county is working with them to assist their companies develop.

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