Compared to much bigger states, “Idaho is a very small economy, but we have big agriculture,” University of Idaho Agricultural Economist Garth Taylor told lawmakers Jan. 5.
According to Taylor, Idaho is the fifth-largest agricultural state in the nation when it comes to a state’s gross domestic product generated from agriculture as a percentage of that state’s total GDP.
“We are the fifth-largest ag state in the nation in ag GDP percentage terms,” he said.
GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced. Taylor said that according to U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data, Idaho farm GDP grew by 120 percent from 1997-2021. During that same period, total Idaho GDP grew 80 percent and GDP from Idaho food manufacturing grew by 70 percent.
“Agriculture – farmers, not food processing – is growing faster than the state’s economy in GDP terms,” Taylor told members of the Idaho Legislature’s Joint Legislative Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee. “It is a fast-growing industry.”
Total Idaho net farm income grew by 150 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars from 1997 to 2022, Taylor added. Total U.S. net farm income grew by 80 percent during that same period.
Taylor said the significant growth in the state’s agricultural industry is a product of the ag-friendly climate that exists in Idaho, especially compared to some other states.
“The climate toward agriculture is very favorable in Idaho, especially compared to some neighboring states,” he told Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. “Idaho doesn’t have an aversion to production agriculture.”