September 1, 2013

California Ag Reaches New High
California’s 80,500 farms and ranches received a record high $44.7 billion for their output last year. The State’s agriculture revenues increased three percent for 2012 from the revised 2011 income level of $43.3 billion, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and Economic Research Service.

California’s cash receipts represented 11.3 percent of the U.S. total for 2012.

California remains the number one dairy state in the nation, producing 20.9 percent of the nation’s milk supply last year. Dairy producers received $6.90 billion for their milk production in 2012, down 10 percent from 2011.

The number of licensed herds dropped 1.5 percent from 2011, while the change in number of cows was up 30,000 as small operations were shuttered and the larger dairies built up herds. Milk prices received by producers dropped from an average $18.54 per hundred pounds of milk sold in 2011 to $16.52 in 2012.

The decline in milk prices received that began in September 2011 continued into the first half of 2012. November saw the highest all milk price received, $19.92, which was 40 cents below the prior year’s highest monthly return per hundredweight.

Dairy producers experienced increased feed costs and limited feed availability due to the drought conditions in the nation’s corn growing regions. Cost of production per cow per month was up 12.3 percent based on the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Cost of Production Survey. The high production costs, primarily feed, kept California dairies struggling financially in 2012.

The prior year the state net loss of dairies was 48, while 2012 saw a decline of only 25 dairies. National and global supply and demand conditions for finished dairy products were steady with national exports remaining strong in terms of volume and total value.

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

The value of grapes edged higher than that of almonds in 2012, ranking second in the top ten commodities by cash receipts. Final grower returns could change the sales values for the commodities, resulting in an updated dollar amount in next year’s report.

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