Telling Agriculture's Story

posted by Merlin Siefken on Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Almost every day you will hear or read information that indicates a significant segment of our population does not understand or appreciate the contribution of agriculture in their lives. How many jobs does agriculture support? How much value does it add back into the local economy?  Those of us who work in agriculture or businesses that support agriculture need facts and information to tell our story accurately and effectively. 

One of the valuable tools associations and state departments of agriculture have used is the Agriculture Economic Contribution Study (AECS).  We have had the opportunity of completing AECS projects for Iowa, South Dakota, Illinois, Missouri and Alabama.  The studies typically include summaries at the county, congressional district and state level.  Within those summaries it is also possible to report on individual commodity groups.  The final report also includes information from the 2017 Census of Agriculture on demographics, trends, and the current state of Agriculture in the area. 

Another common use of the data produced from an AECS study is the production of individual business economic impact studies.  For instance, a new pork production facility will conduct an open house and we can produce an economic impact study showing how their new business benefits the local economy.   

We have also produced or have underway impact studies for different types of operations such as a dairy production facility, a swine production facility, a confined cattle feeding facility, a greenhouse, a feed mill and an aquaculture production facility. 

A state level AECS is typically funded by multiple agriculture-based associations.  We have worked with state soybean, corn, pork, and cattle associations along with Farm Bureaus and, in some states, the departments of agriculture.  Our support starts at the very beginning by working with all of the constituent groups in helping them reach agreement on participation and the content in the final product. 

If you are interested in looking at some of our past work you will find past studies on our website in the Economic Impact section.  We would be glad to visit about the best approach for producing an AECS for your state. 

About The Author

Merlin Siefken

Merlin Siefken contracts with Decision Innovation Solutions to provide Business Development services. He is responsible for maintaining and enhancing existing business relationships, conducting research of new product lines and service offerings, collaborating with the Decision Innovation Solutio ... read more