The annual wheat crop pumps $1.02 billion into the Eastern Washington economy, and provides nearly 3,400 jobs in Spokane, says a Washington State University study.
Farmers export nearly 90 percent of wheat grown east of the Cascade Mountains, making the crop the second-largest export in the region behind primary aluminum. The annual average export value of Washington wheat is $376 million.
“Wheat dollars generate business activity well beyond the agricultural sector,” said Washington Wheat Commission chairman Jim Walesby. “They impact households and businesses.”
WSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics conducted the study with a grant from the Spokane-based wheat commission. The study narrowed an earlier WSU report that found that wheat annually generates $1.18 billion in the state economy, including $83 million in state and local taxes.
WSU said that the wheat crop and government farm subsidies received by farmers - directly contributes $516.6 million to the Eastern Washington economy, creating more than 16,000 jobs.
Another $504 million is generated when those dollars are spent by farmers for food, equipment, automobiles and entertainment.
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