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Total economic impact of $12.2 billion

The water used to irrigate crops in the High Plains produces economic activity that benefits everyone who lives and works in the region.

An economic analysis conducted by Texas Tech University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension found crop production supported more than 103,000 jobs and generated more than $12.2 billion in economic activity in 2010 in the Texas High Plains region.

Table 1. Total, Backward and Forward-linked, Regional Economic Contribution of Crops, 2010.

  Direct Indirect Induced Total
Output* $4,261 $4,103 $1,495 $9,858
Value Added* $657 $2,395 $856 $3,907
Employment 31,449 48,408 13,699 93,556
Output* $1,626 $574 $177 $2,377
Value Added* $424 $230 $101 $755
Employment 5,104 2,974 1,662 9,740
Output* $5,887 $4,676 $1,672 $12,235
Value Added* $1,081 $2,624 $957 $4,662
Employment 36,553 51,382 15,361 103,297

*Millions of dollars

“Without irrigation, the region could really only support about two-thirds of the population it currently supports. Irrigation is pretty critical to maintaining the standard of living for everybody.”
-Economist Darren Hudson, PhD., Texas Tech University

Figure 1. Backward and Forward Regional Economic Linkages of Agricultural Crop Production

The measures in the study reflect the impact of a wide variety of economic activity, including production costs, such as buying seed, fertilizer, fuel, labor and equipment, as well as post-production processing of crops in the area, including livestock and dairy usage, cotton gins, grain elevators and other relevant processing.

The study used a five-year average (2006-2010) of crop production in 41 counties in the Texas High Plains. The crops analyzed were alfalfa, corn, corn silage, cotton, peanuts, grain sorghum, sorghum silage and wheat.

The research project was launched in April 2010 through financial contributions from Texas commodity groups. Representatives from five water districts and six commodity groups serve on a steering committee for the project.

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