Assessing the Economic Impacts of Local Food System Producers by Scale: A Case Study from New York
In a study of local food system producers in New York, researchers use primary data to modify IMPLAN in order to estimate the local economic impact of small- and medium-scale producers with direct sales compared to other agricultural producers. A team of researchers from Cornell University worked with extension agents from an 11 country region to collect expenditure and sales information from small and mid-scale producers that utilized direct to consumer markets (labeled the SDA sector in the below table).
The primary data demonstrated that small- and medium-scale direct agriculture producers have different expenditure patterns than other agricultural producers, both in terms of what they purchase and the percentage of purchases in the local economy. Using this data, the study created two agricultural sectors from the default agricultural sector in IMPLAN, one for small- and mid-scale farms that participate in direct markets and one for all other producers. These differential expenditure patterns resulted in different economic impacts. The team found that whereas the SDA sector had higher associated employment and labor income multipliers compared to the non-small direct agriculture (NDSA) sector, the NDSA sector had larger total output and value added multipliers. The results underscore the importance of collecting appropriate data and modifying IMPLAN to outline the economic impacts of small- and medium-scale local food system participants on the local economy.
Multipliers for the Default Agriculture, Small Direct Agriculture (SDA), and Non-Small Direct Agriculture (NSDA) sectors.1
 For more information, see: Schmit, T.M., B.B.R. Jablonski, and Y. Mansury. 2013. Impacts of Local Food System Activities by Small Direct-to-Consumer Producers in a Regional Economy: A Case Study from Upstate NY. Working Paper 13-16. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University.