The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently released the latest agricultural statistics review which shows a modest improvement from the year prior. The report shows that the state’s farmers and ranchers received nearly $50 billion for their output in 2018. California was also shown to once again lead the nation in cash farm receipts, accounting for 13 percent of the U.S. total. “For the 2018 crop year, as we’ve seen so many times before, our farmers and ranchers, with nature’s cooperation, delivered in a big way,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in the report.
The California Agricultural Statistics Review 2018-19 detailed California’s most valued commodities for 2018, with dairy leading the way with cash receipts of $6.37 billion. Grapes were valued at $6.25 billion and almonds came in third with a value of $5.47 billion. Fresno County was the most valuable agricultural producing region, followed by Kern and Tulare counties.
There was a significant decline in olive production in 2018, with a decrease of 72 percent. Sweet cherries and chili peppers also saw decreases of 54 percent and 44 percent, respectively. Pistachios experienced a 64 percent increase in production, moving the crop up to the sixth most valuable in California. While honeydew production was up 37 percent, the value of the crop was actually four percent less than 2017.
The 2018 report also included organic data for the first time. Sales of organic products in California totaled more than $10 billion, representing an increase of nearly 30 percent from 2017. The state is responsible for 40 percent of the nation’s organic production, with organic acreage exceeding 5.6 million acres. Kern, Monterey, and Fresno counties were the three most valuable regions for organic production in 2018.
The statistics for the report primarily came from data from the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Services, as well as the CDFA State Organic Program. Initial crop statistics for the 2019 crop are expected later this year.