Cornell University researchers, using a new, more precise framework for economic impact analysis, found the New York apple industry has a 21 percent larger economic impact compared to traditional models, according to a news release.

As part of a case study, the Cornell team focused on the state’s apple industry using a new model with “locally sourced data showing what farmers are spending their income on and where,” rather than using secondary state and national data.

“Collecting local data is really hard, it’s costly, it’s time consuming,” said Todd Schmit, lead author of the study, in the release. “The flip side is, in most cases, that’s time and money well spent.”

Schmit, associate professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, said the model can assess the economic impact of any agricultural sector. However, depending on the agricultural sector being assessed, the model may not show an increase in economic impact, as it did with the apple industry. Nonetheless, Schmit said the locally sourced method will offer a more accurate analysis. “When you’re trying to extract a particular industry from an aggregate of multiple industries, I would expect you’re going to get bigger differences,” he said.

Cornell researchers also found that every $1 of apples or apple products sold in New York state generates an additional 58 cents spent in related industries, such as support services and supplies. In total, the apple industry supports more than $2 billion in industry output and nearly 12,000 jobs.

Schmit’s co-authors are Roberta Severson, program leader of the Cornell Cooperative Enterprise Program at Dyson; Jesse Strzok formerly of Cornell Cooperative Extension; and former undergraduate research intern Jose Barros of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The research appeared in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development and was supported in part by the New York Apple Association.