Almonds in spring

Nov 16, 2021
Almonds No. 1 in Fresno County’s Top 10 Crops listing

The Fresno County Department of Agriculture’s 2020 Crop and Livestock Report was presented to the Board of Supervisors Nov. 16. For the third straight year, Fresno County is the No. 1 agricultural county in the nation.

Overall, the 2020 agricultural production value in Fresno County totaled $7.98 billion, an increase of $222.09 million or 2.86% above 2019’s total.

“Fresno County is the food capital of the nation, and the 2020 crop report showcased the many reasons why,” said FCFB CEO Ryan Jacobsen. “While 2020 was a year that will always be remembered for its shuttered markets, significant price fluctuations, supply chain complications and workforce challenges, our agricultural community pulled together to continue to feed and clothe people both near and far.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the local agricultural community were significant. In a span of no more than a couple of weeks, many traditional methods of getting food to markets were shut down. The American economy was slowed overnight like few times in history. Consumers raced to grocery stores, supermarkets and online to buy food and other supplies. Shelves were emptied due to logistical issues moving product. Even during these tumultuous times, the American farmer and rancher continued doing what they do best…growing a cornucopia of food, fiber and flora. Designated an essential infrastructure, farmers and their dedicated agricultural workforce continued to show up to fields and processing plants to feed our nation and world.

“California grows more than a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts, with a majority of that coming from right here in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Jacobsen.

In total, California holds seven of the nation’s top 10 agricultural counties, including Fresno, Kern, Tulare, Monterey, Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin.

“This report is prepared in accordance with California Food and Agriculture Code and summarizes the acreage, production, and value of agricultural commodities produced in Fresno County,” said County of Fresno Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures Melissa Cregan. “The figures contained herein represent gross returns to the producers and does not reflect actual net profit.”

Included in the 2020 report are over 300 different commodities, 80 of which have a gross value in excess of $1 million.

“Although individual commodities may experience difficulties from year-to-year, Fresno County continues to supply the highest quality of food and fiber nationwide and abroad to more than 101 countries around the world,” said Cregan.

Fresno County Department of Agriculture issued 16,808 phytosanitary certificates for 72 commodities destined for markets in 101 countries around the globe in 2020. In addition, inspectors walked and certified 1,403.2 acres of alfalfa, lettuce, radish and onion grown for seed export.

Too often, the Crop and Livestock Report gets summarized down to just a single overall number, but it yields a significant amount of information, such as, the ability to examine changes and trends in crop acreage and yields. Amounts in the report reflect the gross income values only and does not reflect net return to producers.

One significant component of the report is the review of the county’s “Top 10 Crops,” which showcased the diversity of products grown here. Grapes returned to the billion-dollar club where they last were in 2018, after being shy of it in 2019.

In 2020, these crops accounted for just shy of three-fourths of the report’s value.

This year’s Crop Report was a salute to our essential agricultural workforce who faced many challenges in 2020 including COVID 19 and the Creek Fire.

“We were pulled in different directions… but worked together efficiently… to maintain safety protocols and… keep the ag industry humming so we could…feed the county, the state, the nation, and the world.”

For a copy of the full crop report, contact FCFB.

Frequently asked questions about the Crop Report:

What is the Crop Report?

The Crop Report is a state mandate that reflects the county’s gross value of agricultural production, separating the information by commodity group for a calendar year. Information is gathered through the use of a crop report survey from a random sample of growers, ranchers, processors, packers and many other sources.

Due to its diversity, California is the only state that produces annual county crop reports, which are more precise and unique than other government and industry reports. The report is also the only source of specialty crop and general county data.

Who uses the Crop Report?

The information provided in the Crop Report helps groups, such as ranchers and growers, agricultural suppliers, agricultural lenders, agricultural research and education agencies, agricultural regulatory agencies, transportation agencies, farm labor offices and health and disease programs, plan for the upcoming year in regards to harvesting, processing, pricing, transportation and credit.

Lenders use the Crop Report extensively to be informed of cropping trends and potential capital needs for different crops. In addition, research and education agencies use the Crop Report as a historical baseline of what is being grown. It provides valuable information in policy alternative decision making. Finally, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) uses the Crop Report. During disaster relief, the FSA pays growers based on a weighted average of the crop report data for the impacted crop.

How does it benefit Fresno County?

Every year, there is a gap between when Fresno County fiscal year begins and ends, and when the funds from property taxes are received. Since the county cannot operate without funds, it applies for a tax and revenue anticipation note (TRAN), which is a short-term loan. The county needs this loan prior to July 1 to ensure that all county services will continue for residents.

When Fresno County officials apply for the Standard & Poor’s Bond Rating, they present a financial package, which includes the county’s risk management strategies, current budget for the year and a forecast for the upcoming year. This portfolio highlights resources that are unique to the area and includes a page focusing on Fresno County’s record agricultural production and trends of the previous 10 years.

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