Farming industry accounts for large portion of Magic Valley economy

“It builds on the economy as a whole”
Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 5:45 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The Magic Valley is full of small communities, but in the surrounding fields is big business and many people may not know just how big it truly is.

“It’s not just a farmer out in the back with a milk cow and a fork,” said Republican state senator and Magic Valley farmer Jim Patrick. “There’s a lot more.”

A recent report shows that in the Magic Valley, agriculture accounts for nearly half of the area’s gross regional product. With so many resources that come from farming and agriculture, the effects can be felt far beyond the field.

“And as a consequence, it builds on the economy as a whole, so it’s not just farmers, but it’s car dealers, equipment dealers, feed dealers. It’s just a whole group,” said Patrick.

The study also shows just how big of an economic impact there is with 42% of all jobs in the Magic Valley and 59% of all sales being agricultural. Patrick has been farming most of his life and said that there is a need for farmers but convincing the next generation to farm is difficult.

“It’s difficult to convince people to get into it,” he said. “You work a lot of years with very low income, but as you go along you learn to save money because you don’t spend it. Can’t just say, ‘Oh, let’s hire that, done that, done.’ There’s not enough money for that. You’ve got to learn to do it yourself. The ag programs we have in high school help with skills that’s needed on a farm and you have to have those to actually become a farmer.”

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