EconAlliance celebrates the important role that agriculture plays in our Northern Santa Barbara County economy and quality of life. The sector’s importance to North County’s rural character, food security, innovation/technology and local nonprofits is matched only by the sector’s countywide economic and job impact.
Santa Barbara County agriculture is the county’s largest industry, with much of it in Northern Santa Barbara County. The county ag sector has a $2.8 billion economic impact, with $1.8 billion in direct economic output and an additional $1 billion in expenditures by ag companies and employees. Agriculture provides over 25,000 jobs.
In 2018 the “top crops” in Santa Barbara County included strawberries (#1), wine grapes (#2) and nursery products (#3). Cut flowers and foliage came in at #4 and broccoli at #5. Cauliflower, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, avocado and cattle production were all in the top ten crops.
The county produces over 100 commodities and exports to over 40 countries, with the top five countries being Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Kuwait and China (2018).
All six Santa Barbara American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and nearly all vineyards in the county are in North County.
The ag sector attracts and/or sustains a wealth of ag-related or support businesses (from irrigation to environmental analysis to construction) which, together with ag jobs, offer local residents a wealth of job and career options at every level and wage category – entry level field work; ag-related technician or specialist occupations; professional, scientific and business careers and executive and ownership opportunities.
Many Northern Santa Barbara County agriculturalists are also supporting regional innovation through science and technology advancement, experimenting with hybridization, automation, remote sensing, robotics, and precision farming.
Because of its many contributions to economic vitality, job opportunities, food security, innovation, scenic/rural beauty, community support and environmental sustainability, EconAlliance is committed to celebrating agriculture and advancing public awareness of the ag community and its value to the area.
EconAlliance Ag Initiative Team Lead:
George Adam, President, Innovative Produce, Santa Maria