2021 Arkansas Agriculture Profile offers comprehensive look at ag’s role in state economy

Agriculture in Arkansas continues to maintain a position of strength, contributing more than $19 billion to the economy, said Jennie Popp, co-author of the Arkansas Agriculture Profile, a publication that highlights the industry’s economic contributions.

The 2021 edition is the latest in a series co-written by Popp, associate dean of the Honors College of the University of Arkansas, and Leah English, technical assistant in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Popp said that agriculture’s continued dominance in Arkansas’ economy sets it apart from many other states.

“Throughout the nation, where much of the farmland is being converted into other uses, agriculture’s importance in many states’ economy is diminishing,” Popp said. “In Arkansas, however, agriculture comprises a bigger share of the economy than it does in any other state in the South, or even the average of other states in the United States.”

Industry reference

Over the years, the Arkansas Agriculture Profile has become a reference for policymakers, media and the agriculture industry for its comprehensive analysis and easy-to-digest format. The pocket-sized book also emphasizes work done toward agricultural and rural sustainability by the Division of Agriculture.

Readers are able “to quickly access the most recent ag sector statistics for Arkansas.,” English said. “They can also find production and value data for the top commodities produced across the state and see how Arkansas ranks nationally across commodities.”

Popp said that almost half—49.7%—of contributions generated by agriculture are in areas outside of agriculture, including fishing and hunting and real estate rental and leasing.

“By highlighting these contributions annually, we help others to understand agriculture’s importance, hopefully leading to policies and practices that support agricultural production, agricultural industries and broad-based agricultural research and education throughout the state,” she said.

$19.4 billion impact

English said that in addition to contributions generated by the direct sale of agricultural goods, “the impacts of agriculture touch all areas of the economy.

“These far-reaching impacts can be recognized through the large indirect and induced contributions that are generated through ripple effects stemming from economic activity with the agriculture sector,” she said.

“Direct effects from the ag sector represent 7.3% of total value added across the state, with ag sector purchasing activity and the spending of ag wages and salaries within the state contributing an additional 3.8% and 3.5% to the total state value added, respectively,” English said.

“The result is a total economic contribution of $19.4 billion, which represents 14.6 percent of total value added to the state economy,” she said.

The book can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/2021_ArkAgProfile.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: aaes.uada.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch.

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