Fresno County 2016 Crop Report Shows Drought, Market Impacts

Brian GermanAgri-Business

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors were presented with the Fresno County Department of Agriculture’s 2016 Crop and Livestock Report, which illustrated a decline of 7.23% percent from 2015.  Overall Fresno County had $6.18 billion dollar’s worth of agricultural production in 2016, compared to $6.61 billion in 2015.

In a press release issued by the Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB), Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures Les Wright highlighted the positives seen in the report.  “While this region supplies our nation with a bounty of produce, Fresno County also exported to 93 countries last year. This Crop Report is comprised of nearly 400 commodities, of which, 68 crops exceed $1 million in value,” said Wright.

Several factors can be attributed to the decline in crop value, including fluctuating markets and uncooperative weather.  “In 2016, markets were less than stellar for many of our commodities. Additionally, for West side growers, this included a third straight year of no surface water allocation,” Wright explained.

The Crop and Livestock Report can often be oversimplified to a single number, but the report offers an opportunity to study trends in acreage and yields and how that can affect the surrounding community.  “Whether your job depends on ag or not, if you live in the San Joaquin Valley, the successes and challenges reflected in this report impact all residents directly,” said FCFB CEO Ryan Jacobsen.

One of the features of the report is listing the county’s “Top 10 Crops,” offering a snapshot of the diversity of products grown.  The top producing crops for Fresno County in 2016 accounted for two-thirds of the overall value reflected in the report.  Almonds continue to be a powerhouse as the county’s only billion-dollar crop.  Mandarins slid off the list, while pistachios made significant gains getting onto the list this year at number seven.

Fresno County is a small reflection of California as a whole, producing a wide variety of different commodities.  Because of that diversity, California is the only state with annual county crop reports.  These reports can be more precise than government and industry reports and provide the only source of specialty crop and general county information.  Data is gathered by crop report surveys from a random sample of growers, ranchers, processors, packers and other sources.