Specialty Crop Production
Specialty crop production is important to Mississippi’s economy. Specialty crops typically include horticulture crops, such as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, nursery crops, and floriculture.
Barnes and Myles (2017) recently measured the economic contribution of five of these crops to Mississippi’s economy: blueberries, honey, pecans, sweet potatoes, and watermelons. Results indicated this cluster of selected specialty crops contributes significantly to Mississippi’s economy:
- $238 million in industry sales
- 1,929 jobs supported
- $146 million in income
- $170 million in value-added
- $29 million in local, state, and federal taxes
This cluster of selected specialty crops also supported several economic sectors in Mississippi’s economy. Recipients of these benefits purchased goods and services from 10 other sectors, which created jobs for local residents, who spent a portion of their disposable income on goods and services in the state. The top 10 sectors supported by this cluster’s economic activities in Mississippi include:
- vegetable and melon farming
- owner-occupied dwellings
- fruit farming
- real estate
- support activities for agriculture and forestry
- wholesale trade
- all other food manufacturing
- physicians’ offices
- limited-service restaurants
Numerous businesses in many sectors of Mississippi’s economy are linked together as suppliers and purchasers of goods and services and benefit from agriculture, and specialty crop production in particular. Expansion of production for this cluster of selected specialty crops by 10 percent (about $14 million) could contribute an additional 193 jobs, $24 million in industry sales, and almost $17 million in gross regional product to the Mississippi economy.
Barnes, J. and A. Myles. 2017. “Local Food System Economies: How Selected Specialty Crops Contribute to Mississippi’s Economy.” Mississippi State University Extension, Forthcoming.