Lead Researchers: George Oamek, John Farner
Contact:  George Oamek
Industry Partner: Irrigation Association, Headwaters Corporation 

Abstract: Very little data exists on the economic impact of irrigation manufacturing, distribution, consulting, design, installation, and maintenance of irrigation technologies and products. A 2010 Economic Impact Study led by the Irrigation Association estimated the macro-economic impacts of the irrigation equipment and services industry for four major demand sectors: agricultural, residential, commercial, and golf courses. The 2010 study confirmed the size and importance of industry but contained relatively little analysis about important economic drivers and other value-added aspects related to irrigation. 10 years on, an update of this study will look at quantifying how much the irrigation sector adds to the U.S. and regional economies while providing additional insights related to predicting future demand for irrigation goods and services—information necessary for identifying and targeting research gaps and sound opportunities for investment. The team will also perform data analysis and collect anecdotal observations from industry professionals related to COVID-19’s rippling impact on the irrigation equipment and service industry in the U.S.

A 2010 study confirmed the size and importance of the irrigation industry but contained little analysis about important economic drivers and other value-added aspects related to irrigation.

10 years on, this study update will aim to quantify how much the irrigation sector adds to the U.S. and regional economies while providing additional insights related to predicting future demand for irrigation-related goods and services—information necessary for identifying and targeting research gaps and sound opportunities for investment. 

Currently, a preliminary, regionalized crop irrigation model is complete that will be applied to key agricultural subregions of the U.S, and a residential-commercial model is in development. Researchers are currently evaluating the direct impact of irrigation on producers, indirect impact on suppliers, and the induced impact on suppliers’ households. Work on this project is anticipated to conclude in summer 2021.