The Fresno County Department of Agriculture presented the 2020 Crop and Livestock Report to the Board of Supervisors last month. The report highlights the top crops of Fresno County’s agricultural economy and the trends across commodity markets. Fresno County has maintained its position as the top county in agricultural production for the third year in a row.
“Fresno County once again was the number one agricultural county in the United States for agricultural production,” said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO, Ryan Jacobsen. “It’s really because of the incredible diversity of crops that we have here that allow that strength.”
Of the 300 crops grown in Fresno County, ten contribute to over 70 percent of the total crop value. The top ten crops, as outlined in the crop report, are almonds, grapes, pistachios, poultry, milk, cattle, garlic, tomatoes, oranges, and peaches, with almonds and grapes leading the pack as the only two crops to reach the billion-dollar club. Almonds made up a total of $1.255 billion in value with grapes making up $1.046 billion in value.
All of these crops led to an overall production value of $7.98 billion for the county’s 2020 agricultural production. This is an all-time high in growth production value for Fresno County over the past 20 years.
“2020 was a COVID year so there was a lot of uncertainty with markets. There were substantial shifts. Overall, it seemed like commodity prices were generally down,” Jacobsen said. “But, fortunately, dependent upon what specific area you were looking at, production was either up and/or the markets did strengthen as we got towards the peak harvest times of the year for our crops here in comparison to the dramatic shifts we saw when COVID first hit there.”
Even with 2020’s largest obstacle in the way, producers were able to excel in production and the county as a whole increased in value by 2.86 percent in comparison to 2019. This is largely due to the strengthened markets and the ability for growers to export their goods.
The crop report shows that almonds were the most exported crop in 2020, making up 25 percent of all agricultural exports from Fresno County. This was followed by peaches, oranges, and grapes. Despite the ports being closed and exporting becoming more difficult, producers were still able to reach over 101 countries.
The 2020 Fresno County Crop and Livestock report serves a vital role in highlighting trends and changes in the agricultural economy as well as paying tribute to the hard workers that help to ensure that Fresno County agriculture is able to overcome obstacles such as COVID 19, the drought, or the Creek Fire.