Pistachio growers and processors have a profound and growing economic impact that reverberates far and wide, boosting the economic climate of Arizona. That’s the conclusion of economic impact studies commissioned by American Pistachio Growers (APG) and conducted by The Tootelian Company to quantify how spending by growers and processors sparks business activity, grows jobs and labor income and contributes indirect business taxes.
Pistachio acreage in Arizona, the nation’s second-ranked pistachio state, is about 9,500 acres, modest by comparison to the more than 485,000 acres in California. But the impact analysis found that Arizona’s young pistachio industry produces a huge wave of economic benefit.
“I was very pleased to see the results of the Arizona Pistachios Economic Impact Study commissioned by the American Pistachio Growers,” said Jim Graham owner with his wife, Ruth, of Cochise Groves Farming in Southern Arizona. “Despite the modest size, Arizona ranks second only to California in total pistachio production in the United States. The study shows that pistachios have a $92 million impact on the state’s economy. Historically over 90% of the Arizona crop is exported to foreign counties, which means that a very large portion of the impact is new dollars brought in from abroad. Pistachios are part of the positive influence agriculture has on the trade deficit, particularly with China which is a large customer for Arizona pistachios.”
“The big takeaway to me from the Arizona results was a relatively small number of acres generated a lot of grower and processor spending,” said Dennis H. Tootelian, who conducted the study. “The economic output in the agriculture sector alone totaled $53 million, but that does not tell the whole story. There was a $12 million impact on the real estate, construction and the insurance sector and about $4 million each in professional services and retailing. If we didn’t have a pistachio industry in Arizona and that land was idle, all of that would go away.” The 2020 economic impact study found total expenditures by Arizona growers and processors topped $49 million, which created nearly $92 million in total economic output or the equivalent of more than $251,400 per day.
Arizona’s pistachio industry generated 915 jobs because of spending by growers and processors, creating $39.6 million in labor income --- dollars that went to wages and salaries that were diffused throughout local and state economies as people spent their new income on an array of goods and services.
Pistachio growers and processors also contributed more than $3 million in indirect business taxes in 2020, amounting to about $8,335 per day. Tootelian said depending on how these tax funds are spent, they can support services that benefit Arizonans.
“Even what might look like a small amount of money makes a big difference in terms of generating tax dollars that can be used for the public good,” said Tootelian. “The findings of this study make clear that growers and processors have a significant impact on Arizona’s economy.”
“Our grower and processor members in Arizona create ripples of economic benefit that extend far and wide across the state,” said APG President Richard Matoian.
“Pistachios are in high demand globally as consumers around the world are turning to sustainable plant-based proteins,” said Judy Hirigoyen, APG VP, Global Marketing. “Arizona has excellent growing conditions for a very high-quality nut, and we look forward to the expansion of pistachio farming there to help meet world needs.”