California Agriculture Hits New Record

Taylor Hillman Cattle, Citrus, Corn, Cotton, Dairy & Livestock, Field & Row Crops, Forage Crops, General, Grain, Specialty Crops, Tree, nut & vine crops

The numbers for last year are in, and California’s agriculture production has hit a new record. It topped $44 billion for 2012. Sabrina Hill reports.
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California is home to 80,500 farms and ranches, which all together brought in $44.7 billion for their output last year. That’s an increase of 3 percent over 2011.

California remains the number one dairy state in the nation, producing nearly 21 percent of the nation’s milk supply last year. Dairy producers received $6.9 billion for their milk production in last year, which was down 10 percent from the year before. The number of licensed herds also dropped from 2011, while the change in number of cows was up. What those numbers come down to: several smaller operations closed their doors, while the larger operations built up their herds. That was a continuing trend from 2011, which saw nearly 50 dairies close their doors. In 2012, half that many shut down.

Twelve California products exceeded $1 billion in receipts for 2012, one more than in 2011. Nine of the twelve commodities has an increase in value. The commodity with the largest percentage increase with receipts over $1 billion was Pistachios, which had a 27 percent increase in value. All three of the major nut crops – almond, walnuts, and pistachios – blew past the billion-dollar threshold.

Meanwhile, the value of grapes edged higher than that of almonds in 2012, ranking second in the top ten commodities by cash receipts.

Here are California’s top ten commodities for 2012:
Greenhouse/nursery crops
Cattle and calves
Tomatoes – Processing and fresh

In addition to California, Hawaii and Nevada also had record-high years for ag returns.