Kern Leads in Growing California’s Most Profitable Crops | New


A new report shows Kern is the leader of other counties in producing California’s most lucrative crops, including three of the state’s seven top agricultural exports.

The California Agricultural Statistics Review 2019-2020, released last week by the state’s Food and Agriculture Department, indicates that about one-fifth of almonds and grapes and more than one-third of pistachios grown in the Golden State come from Kern.

Each of these crops ranks high in income paid to farmers, with almonds being second in the entire state after dairy, grapes third and pistachios seventh.

The numbers suggest that Kern’s producers have generally been successful in matching their efforts with market demand, including consumer preferences overseas, as shoppers increasingly turn to healthy snacks and ingredients from the market. food.

“Producers are meeting (the demand for healthy nuts and fruits) and they will forgo row crops and vegetables,” Kern deputy commissioner Cerise Montanio said, adding that the size of the county and the right conditions agriculture had been of great help.

“We have more area to cultivate,” she said. “We have pretty decent conditions in the Central Valley so we can diversify into a lot of products. So I think that’s what makes Kern County a little more unique and diverse than some of the other counties.”

Although state data is the latest available, it reflects the results of the 2019 crop year and is therefore more than a year old. The Kern County 2020 harvest report is expected to be released in two weeks. Montanio said the agriculture commissioner’s office was still pulling the final numbers for submission on September 28 to the county supervisory board.

According to state calculations, Kern ranked second among California counties in total crop value, just behind Fresno County. It may be remarkable, however, that without some oddity in Fresno’s accounting, Kern might have come out the winner.

The new state report found that California ranks No.1 nationally in the production of almonds, grapes and pistachios. Almost all of these American crops were grown in the Golden State.

He said the state’s top-grossing agricultural product was dairy, which ranked fifth in Kern in 2019. Almonds (No.1 in Kern) were second statewide , followed by grapes (n ° 2 in Kern). Pistachios ranked seventh statewide but fourth in Kern, after citrus.

In export value in 2019, almonds ranked first statewide at $ 4.9 billion, up 8% from 2018. Pistachios came in second with $ 2 billion (up 16%) and dairy products to $ 1.8 billion (up nearly 12%). Table grapes rank seventh in terms of total export value, down more than 7% from 2018 totals.

The report also highlights the main markets for California exports: the European Union imported the most, at $ 3.7 billion, leading by almonds, pistachios and walnuts. Canada followed with $ 3.2 billion, with wine, almonds and strawberries being its most popular California imports. Third, China and Hong Kong with $ 1.9 billion, led by pistachios, almonds and dairy.

Overall, California crop production in the 2019-20 crop year amounted to more than $ 50 billion in cash, slightly more than the production of the previous year.

Market prices, of course, figure in the state’s crop rankings. The report says dairy prices rose 15% year-on-year to $ 18.11 per cwt, and that in 2019, California milk production accounted for about one-fifth of the national dairy supply this year. that year.

Almonds prices, he noted, fell 3 percent to $ 2.43 a pound over the course of a year, as California’s nut production area increased by 90,000.

He noted that grape production was down 9% from the previous year, while that year’s pistachio harvest fell by a quarter from the 2018-19 crop year.


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