California farmers and ranchers saw some growth for the crop year 2017, according to the California Agricultural Statistics Review that was recently released. The total value of sales improved by nearly six percent compared to 2016. California producers received more than $50 billion for their agricultural production in 2017, whereas the year prior farmers and ranchers received $46 billion.
“As you know, farming and ranching can be a tough business. But these are still exciting times for agriculture! As we move further into the 21st century we see a worldwide demand for food that is growing rapidly, and a corresponding demand for California-grown products that will bring tremendous opportunity for producers able to maintain sustainability in the face of climate change,” California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross said in the report.
The state leads the nation in terms of cash farm receipts, accounting for more than 13 percent of the total U.S. agricultural value. California’s top three commodities remained the same as 2016, with dairy, grapes, and almonds coming in first, second and third respectively. The top three crops accounted for just under $18 billion, or approximately 36 percent of the overall total.
Strawberries made significant gains in value, coming in as the fourth most valuable crop at $3.1 billion. Broilers also increased in value to $939 million, replacing oranges as the tenth most valuable crop. While neither made it into the top ten, dried plums and sweet cherries both had sizable value increases in 2017.
The crop year 2017 saw significant gains in value despite an overall reduction in the amount of land used for farming and ranching. The average farm size also declined to 328 acres, with all agricultural land totaling 25.3 million acres. Of the state’s 77,100 farms and ranches, more than 27 percent had commodity sales greater than $100,000.