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Northeast Economic Engine: Agriculture, Forest Products and Commercial Fishing

Farm Credit East Releases Information Analyzing the Economic Impact of Agriculture on the Northeast’s Economy

The agricultural, commercial fishing and forest products industries are key economic engines in the Northeast according to an economic impact report recently released by Farm Credit East, the largest lender to Northeast agriculture. 

The report found that the 79,485 farms and related businesses throughout the eight-state region of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont produced an estimated $103 billion in economic activity and resulted in 483,375 jobs on and off the farm. 

“Agriculture, forest products and commercial fishing play a major part in our economy, resulting in jobs, local food and fiber production and economic activity in hundreds of communities,” said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “These industries have a bright future here in the Northeast and with appropriate state policies and community support will continue to enhance our Northeast economy.” 

The Northeast is fortunate to have strong agricultural diversity, ranging from dairy to commercial fishing, fruit, vegetable, forest products, nursery and greenhouse across the region. In addition to the economic activity created by farm businesses, a key takeaway from this report is the economic impact beyond the farm gate, through farm services businesses, such as suppliers, repair, equipment, lenders, insurance, etc., and through processing activities, such as dairy processing plants, sawmills and wineries. The following information highlights the agricultural impact on the eight Northeast states’ economies. 

  • New York State contributed a $48.2 billion impact on state economic output and supported more than 197,000 jobs, both on and off the farm. Dairy production accounts for 45 percent of the total agricultural output generating nearly 26,000 jobs. The fruit and vegetable industries are also major economic contributors.
  • Maine’s agriculture, commercial fishing and forest products businesses contributed $13.9 billion to the state’s economy and generated 79,011 jobs. The state’s diversified agriculture includes potatoes, dairy products and blueberries, with its largest sector being the forest products industry, which had an $8.8 billion impact and supported 40,000 jobs. 
  • Massachusetts’ agriculture and related processing activities was responsible for $12.7 billion in output and generated 60,760 jobs. Commercial fishing is the state’s largest sector, generating $2.5 billion in impact and nearly 16,000 jobs. The cranberry and greenhouse industries are also major economic contributors. 
  • New Jersey had a $12.8 billion impact on state economic output and 58,006 jobs generated statewide. Greenhouse and nursery production is the state’s largest sector with a $772 million impact and 7,130 jobs supported. Vegetables are the state’s second largest economic contributor. 
  • Connecticut contributed $4.8 billion in output and generated more than 25,495 jobs. Greenhouse and nursery production is the state’s largest sector with a $376.7 million impact and 3,876 jobs generated. 
  • New Hampshire’s agriculture and related processing had a $3.1 billion economic impact and generated 18,773 jobs. The forest products industry is a major industry in the state, with an impact of $1.2 billion. 
  • Rhode Island’s agriculture and related processing had a $1.1 billion economic impact and generated 6,591 jobs. Commercial fishing accounts for 58 percent of the Ocean State’s total output with a $286 million impact and 2,668 jobs generated. 
  • Vermont’s agriculture and related processing contributed $6.6 billion to the state’s economy and supported 36,994 jobs. Dairy production is the state’s largest sector generating $878 million in impact and supporting 7,443 jobs. 

This report, titled Northeast Economic Engine: Agriculture, Forest Products and Commercial Fishing, is an update to the original report released in 2012. This report was prepared by Farm Credit East based on 2012 data generated from an independent study completed by Dr. Rigoberto Lopez, Nataliya Plesha and Benjamin Campbell from the University of Connecticut. The purpose of the report was to illustrate the importance of agriculture and related industries to the Northeast economy. To view a full copy of the report, contact your local Farm Credit East office or click here

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For more information:
Contact: Kristie Schmitt
Telephone: 800.562.2235
Email: Kristie.Schmitt@FarmCreditEast.com