Drought, Lower Commodity Prices and Production Issues Drive Report Down
The Fresno County Department of Agriculture's 2015 Crop and Livestock Report was presented to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors TODAY. Overall, agricultural production in Fresno County totaled $6.61 billion, showing a 6.55 percent decrease from 2014's $7.04 billion.
"The strength of Fresno County's agricultural industry is based upon the diversity of crops produced. This year's report covers nearly 400 commodities, of which, 62 exceed $1 million in value," said Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures Les Wright. "The lack of a reliable water supply continues to fallow productive land," Wright continued.
The annual crop report provides a chance to examine changes and trends in crop acreage and yields. Amounts in the report reflect the gross income values only (income before expenses) and does not reflect net return to producers.
According to the released figures, an increase was seen in vegetable crops (4.95% = $59,025,000). Decreases occurred in field crops (41.99% = $134,995,000), seed crops (30.80% = $10,437,000), fruit and nut crops (6.6% = $229,551,000), nursery products (25.65% = $16,088,000), livestock and poultry (9.44% = $118,769,000), livestock and poultry products (31.38% = $199,769,000), apiary (2.39% = $1,735,000) and industrial crops (54.38% = $3,992,000).
"Every day, millions throughout the world are eating food that originated in Fresno County," said FCFB CEO Ryan Jacobsen. "The magnitude of this industry does not occur by happenstance. Generation upon generation of agricultural infrastructure has been built to feed an unbelievably productive, wholesome and affordable food supply.
"I continue to remind all—eaters; elected officials; local residents who benefit from a healthy, vibrant farm economy; and those whose jobs depend upon agriculture—that we must not take what we have for granted," continued Jacobsen. "By not addressing our challenges head-on, whether it be water supply reductions, labor issues, governmental red-tape, etc., we are allowing our economy, our food and our people to wilt away. The direction of the Valley's agricultural industry explicitly determines the direction of the Valley as a whole."
One popular component of the report is review of the county's "Top 10 Crops," which offers a quick glimpse of the diversity of products grown here. In 2015, these crops accounted for three-fourths of the report's value. Added to this year's list were mandarins (9) and oranges (10). Mandarin demand continues to push acreage upwards. Dropping out of the Top 10 was pistachios and cotton. Pistachio production was significantly reduced last year due to the "blanking" issue that left many shells without nuts, and cotton acreage continues to be depressed due to reduced water supplies and fallowed land.
For a copy of the full crop report, contact FCFB at 559-237-0263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fresno County Farm Bureau is the county's largest agricultural advocacy and educational organization, representing members on water, labor, air quality, land use, and major agricultural related issues. Fresno County produces more than 400 commercial crops annually, totaling $6.61 billion in gross production value in 2015. For Fresno County agricultural information, visit www.fcfb.org.