The latest Monterey County Crop Report that was recently released highlighted a four percent increase in the value of agricultural production in 2017. Despite certain weather and labor challenges, Monterey County crop production was valued at $4.4 billion.
“Honestly we were a little concerned about how that was going to come out with the drought and the latent effects there, but we still see a four percent increase in the value of crops that we produce here and that was mainly due to the diversification of the different crops that we grow,” said Monterey County Farm Bureau Executive Director Norm Groot. “We have that balance where we don’t necessarily rely on just one cropping pattern, we have multiple cropping patterns that really help stabilize the economy here.”
The five most valuable crops for the area were leaf lettuce, strawberries, head lettuce, broccoli, and nursery. Those crops account for more than 60 percent of the overall value of agricultural production in Monterey County. The next five most valuable crops, amounting to $942 million, were wine grapes, cauliflower, miscellaneous vegetables, celery, and spinach.
While not in the top-ten in terms of overall value, livestock and poultry experienced significant growth in 2017 with a 26 percent increase in value. “They had new grass that they could expand their herds again, and they did in many ways expand those herds…we’re glad to see our grazing lands are really supporting a strong cattle industry again,” said Groot.
One commodity that was noticeably absent from the Monterey County Crop Report was cannabis. The industry which has mostly moved into greenhouses previously used by flower growers in the area will make its first appearance in the report beginning with 2018. “Our ag commissioner did announce that next year there will be an addendum in the report, reporting on cannabis production not part of the crop report itself,” Groot stated.
Listen to Groot’s interview below.