Fresno, Calif. – The 2015 Fresno County crop report is out and after a booming $7 billion dollar 2014 report, 2015 wasn’t as stellar coming in at a value of $6.61 billion. Several reason are being stated for the dip, but the most significant is water and the lack thereof.
5 years of drought has taken its toll on the Central Valley and elsewhere in the state. But interestingly, Monterey County’s 2015 crop report showed an increase in production.
Les Wright, Fresno County Ag Commissioner was very appreciative of the diversity of crops reported, some 400 commodities in the county. But Wright attributed the stall in production to the main culprit, “The decrease may be attributed to a number of factors including no allocation of surface water over the past two years.”
The leading commodity? Almonds according to Wright, “Almonds continue to be the leading agricultural commodity in Fresno County- representing 18.25 percent of the total crop report for 2015 with a total gross value of $1.2 billion. Grapes held the the number two spot with a total gross production value of $896.3 million followed by poultry with a value of $561.1 million.”
Even though the overall report dipped 6.55 percent, there were increases in vegetable crops, up 4.95 percent. But that was it, decreases were observed in multiple areas. Field crops were off 41.99 percent, seed crops dropped 30.80 percent, fruit and nut crops were off 6.6 percent, nursery products were off 25.65 percent, livestock and poultry off 9.44 percent, livestock and poultry products off 31.38 percent, apiary off 2.39 percent and industrial crops off 54.38 percent.
Over on the Central Coast, Monterey County saw a nearly 8 percent increase in its 2015 crop report. According to Ag Commissioner, Eric Lauritzen fluctuations are normal year to year, “Our production value of $4.84 billion for Monterey County, is an increase of $348 million over the previous year. Crop values vary from year to year based on production, market and weather conditions. As often is the case, there was much fluctuation in the 2015 values, with 22 commodities down and 29 commodities increasing in value.” He says their diversity provides resiliency and reduces the risk of economic shocks.
One thing is clear from these reports, California’s crop production leads the world. And as far as the economy goes, experts say each dollar of ag production amounts to 3 to 4 dollars in the local economy. No other industry can say that.
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