Facts About California Agriculture

Facts About California Agriculture

December 5, 2009

Updated on July 9, 2013

The State is #1 by a Long Shot!


What is the current value of all California agricultural production? $43.5 billion


Does California truly feed the world?


California is the world’s fifth largest supplier of food, cotton fiber and other agricultural commodities. We produce more than 400 different crops---everything from world- renowned wines to specialty items such as almonds and raisins.


For the past 50 years, the men and women who work in California’s fertile fields have made this state the nation’s No. 1 agricultural producer and exporter. If it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it was probably grown right here in California.


What crops are primarily grown in California?


The Golden State is the nation’s sole producer (99 percent or more) of many specialty crops, such as: Almonds, Artichokes, Clingstone Peaches, Dried Plums (prunes), Figs, Garlic, Olives, Persimmons, Pistachios, Pomegranates, cannery tomatoes, Raisins, Sweet Rice and Walnuts.

California also produces half of the U.S. - grown fruits and vegetables


How many farms are in California?


California has nearly 80,000 farms and ranches---less than four percent of the nation’s total, Yet, the Golden State’s agricultural production represents 13 percent of the nation’s total value.


What are some of the top crop values?


California’s top 20 crops and livestock commodities account for more than $28 billion in value. Each of the top 10 commodities exceed $1 billion in value.

California’s Top 20 Commodities, 2007

  1. Milk and Cream

  2. Grapes

  3. Nursery

  4. Almonds

  5. Cattle and Calves

  6. Lettuce

  7. Strawberries

  8. Tomatoes

  9. Floriculture

  10. Hay

  11. Oranges

  12. Chickens

  13. Broccoli

  14. Cotton

  15. Walnuts

  16. Rice

  17. Carrots

  18. Pistachios

  19. Lemons

  20. Avocados

What are top 10 agricultural counties in California? (Rounded in Billions)


1. Fresno (grapes, almonds, tomatoes, poultry, cattle and calves) $6.6

2. Tulare (milk, organs, cattle and calves, grapes, alfalfa hay and silage) $5.6

3. Monterey (leaf and head lettuce, strawberries, nurseries, and broccoli) $4.14

4. Kern (almonds, grapes, milk, carrots, and citrus) $3.5

5. Merced (milk, chickens, almonds, cattle and calves, and tomatoes) $2.3

6. Stanislaus (milk, almonds, cattle and calves, chickens, and walnuts) $2.2

7. San Joaquin (milk, grapes, tomatoes, almonds, and walnuts) $1.7

8. Ventura (strawberries, lemons, celery, woody ornamentals, and tomatoes) $1.5

9. San Diego (flower and foliage plants, trees and shrubs, bedding plants,

avocadoes, and tomatoes) $1.5

10. Imperial (cattle, alfalfa hay, leaf and head lettuce, and carrots) $1.3


How does California stack up in the nation’s dairy industry?

Milk is California’s No. 1 farm commodity and the Golden State is the leading dairy producer by a wide margin. California produces 21 percent of the U.S. milk supply, 23 percent of the cheese, 31 percent of the butter, 50 percent of the nonfat dry milk, and 15 percent of the ice cream. The state’s dairy farms have increased their milk output every year since 1978.

However, since 2008 California dairymen and women have suffered under low milk prices and high feed prices. 

According to milk production data released early in 2013 by the California Department of food and Agriculture, the state's diary farms lost $882 million in 2012. An average 1,000 cow dairy with an average per cow production of 23,457 pounds of milk, lost about $310,000 for the year.

Over the last two years, more than 200 California dairies of shut their doors.

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