In a small ag region like Carpinteria Valley, 900 employees is nothing to sniff at. CARP Growers member farms employ over 900, making cannabis farming a huge economic driver and source of security in an area that has long relied on the business of plant production.

In fact, a UCSB study found that cannabis farming is big business across all of Santa Barbara County. About 2,500 jobs across the county are attributed to cannabis.

In all, cannabis contributes over $450 million to the county economy each year. While the number of acres planted in cannabis is dwarfed by wine grapes, avocados, broccoli or strawberries, cannabis farming is an efficient economic provider for Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara County recently reported collecting $6.7 million in the first year of its voter-approved cannabis tax. Cannabis farmed in Santa Barbara County is taxed at 4 percent of gross sales. Add to that taxes on retail and other areas of the supply chain, and the county gets a healthy share of revenue for items like roads, libraries and other critical services.

Best AG Jobs in the region

We already established that CARP member farms employ a lot of people (over 900). That’s a lot of labor, and commercial cannabis cultivation is big business. We need to retain good labor, and that’s part of the reason why starting pay in cannabis farming is $2 more per hour than what flower farmers were able to pay just a few years ago.

An added bonus to the new work environment is that farms are pesticide free. Workers are not exposed to dangerous chemicals at work. Breathe easily.

The same UCSB study cited earlier states that the average salary of a cannabis worker across the county is $65,000 per year. The saying goes – “If ag workers aren’t currently employed in cannabis, they’d like to be.”

(As an association of responsible farmers, CARP Growers faces a steady stream of inquiries about employment opportunities. Reminder: we are a group of farms, but not a farm, so ask about jobs with individual members.)