A new study on the economic impact of wheat shows that the crop contributed an average of $21.5 billion per year to the U.S. economy from 2003 to 2005. The study, commissioned by the National Association of Wheat Growers, also showed that an average of 206,000 jobs were available over that time due to wheat production and use.
"This study points out something most wheat growers already knew, that wheat growing and the income it allows to flow through the economy are important to local communities and the U.S. economy as a whole," says Dale Schuler, NAWG president and a wheat grower in Carter, Mont.
"Keeping wheat growers on the ground isn't just important for the sake of food security - it's a $21 billion decision that affects the economy as well as people's jobs," he says. "We are proud to represent this important sector of the economy and will continue to work to ensure that growers can stay on the ground."
In Kansas, the study shows an average of $1.967 billion per year contributed to the Kansas economy over the 2003 to 2005 period. At the same time, more than 20,000 Kansas jobs were available over the three-year period.
The Impact Analyses and Planning software package and database of technical coefficients were used to make the study's estimates. The study looked at direct, indirect and induced economic impact on the state and national levels. It was done by James W. Richardson, Joe L. Outlaw, and J. Marc Raulston at the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A & M University.