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It’s common knowledge that Monterey County’s Salinas Valley is one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the world; now a pair of professors from the Monterey Institute of International Studies has teamed up to analyze the data and put a number to the economic value generated by agriculture in Monterey County.

In a report released last week by Monterey County officials, Professor Jeff Langholz and Professor Fernando DePaolis of the Monterey Institute concluded that agriculture contributes $8.2 billion a year to the local economy and is responsible for more than 70,000 jobs in Monterey County. They further concluded that one out of every five workers in Monterey County is employed in agriculture, and 28,000 more jobs are generated by the ripple effects of agricultural activities and industries. Their analysis found that the Salinas Valley alone generates 70 percent of the agriculture industry's economic output and 79 percent of agriculture jobs in Monterey County.

The full report, which was publicly released on April 11, is available online at the Office of the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner. Release of the report was covered by the Monterey Herald and the Salinas Californian.

The type of analysis conducted by professors De Paolis and Langholz reflects the approach being championed by the new Center for the Blue Economy at MIIS, which is examining the economic value of different aspects of the coastal environment and contributing data and analysis to policy debates about the management of coastal resources. The Institute’s ongoing focus on sustainable development through its International Environmental Policy and Fisher International MBA programs is also reflected in the selection of Myra Goodman, co-founder of Earthbound Farm, as the Institute’s May 2012 commencement speaker.

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir