Tulare County Ag is Down But Strong

Tulare County Annual Crop Report is Down But Still Strong


By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director


The numbers are in for the 2015 Tulare County Annual Crop and Livestock Report.  Marilyn Kinoshita, Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Tulare County, reported, “We had an overall value of $6.9 billion, compared to last year, which was more than $8 billion,” which means the County led the nation in total crop value and dairy production, despite a decrease of nearly 14% in one year.

Tulare County’s top ten crops [crop value] in 2015 were:

  1. Milk
  2. Cattle & Calves
  3. Oranges- Navels & Valencias
  4. Grapes
  5. Almonds Meats & Hulls
  6. Tangerines – Fresh
  7. Corn – Grain & Silage
  8. Silage – Small Grain
  9. Pistachio Nuts
  10. Walnuts

Kinoshita explained, “Dairy is our number one industry here. Our milk production was off a little bit. We have fewer dairies in business now because of the low milk prices. Anytime your fresh market milk is off, that’s going to affect our overall value. A good 2/3 of that billion-dollar decrease came from the dairy industry. The price was low the entire year, as opposed to the year before.”

Marilyn Kinoshita, agricultural commissioner, Tulare County
Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Ag Commissioner


Thus far, the reported 2015 county crop reports in the Central Valley are down this year. “Fresno County, for instance, was down 6.5% off its record $7 billion in 2014,” Kinoshita said.


“It has a lot to do with low water deliveries in Fresno and Tulare Counties,” she continued. “The smaller the water deliveries, the more efficient those growers have to be with that water. Anytime you’re pumping water out of the ground, it’s terribly expensive,” she noted.


“Some of our growers have had to decide, ‘All right, I’ve got this much water; I’m going to keep those blocks alive and I’m going to push an older block that isn’t producing as well.’ The returns aren’t as good as some of the newer plantings,” said Kinoshita.


Despite all of that, Kinoshita said agriculture does sit at the head of the table in Tulare County. “Yes, and we need a successful Ag industry to thrive here,” she said.


To view a video of the interview, click HERE.


Tricia Stever Blattler, executive director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau, noted the crop report demonstrates the strength of the agricultural industry. “I think every year when this crop report comes out, it is always a testament to the resiliency of this industry. This industry takes hard knocks, gets knocked down, then steps right back up to the plate and keeps swinging,” Blattler said. “The agricultural sector has a lot of outside challenges that impact the number that we see reported every year.”


Tricia Stever Blattler
Tricia Stever Blattler, executive director , Tulare County Farm Bureau

Blattler acknowledged the crop value numbers do not reflect net revenue for growers. “It’s always really important for our listeners to know that the crop value is a gross revenue number. When our Ag Commissioner steps to the microphone and speaks to our Board of Supervisors about this report each year, she’s reflecting values that are attributed to all of the gross revenue, and it’s not only the field value,” Blattler said.


“That gross number reported each year also represents our packing houses, our milk processing facilities—the creameries, the butter plants—the packing shedsall those other parts of our industry that [create] value in our industry,” said Blattler.


Blattler noted up or down, it’s all about the resiliency of farmers. “The industry has its years that are really blockbuster and it has its years when it falls back and we see a reduction acreage. We see reductions in surface water deliveries. The drought is still certainly playing a significant role in the numbers we’re seeing,” she explained.


With regard to surface water, Tulare County is in a bit of a unique position. “As an Eastside county, some of our water deliveries are not as subject to the situation that the Westside is in. In the same sense, we have some significant cutbacks that have been attributed to the San Joaquin River’s restoration and the biological opinions in the Delta—all have had an impact on the Central San Joaquin Valley [water] deliveries regardless of whether you’re Eastside or Westside.


“Also, as the exchange contractors either take greater deliveries of water or give up water, that also impacts the amount available to Eastside growers here in Tulare County,” she said.


In summary, 2015 Tulare Crop Report covers more than 120 different commodities, 45 of which have a gross value in excess of $1 million. Although individual commodities may experience difficulties from year to year, Tulare County continues to produce high quality crops that provide food and fiber to more than 90 countries worldwide.

Featured photo: Tulare County 2015 Crop Report

Asian Citrus Psyllid Quarantine Established in San Luis Obispo County

Breaking News: NEW ACP Discovery


Victoria Hornbaker, APHIS Citrus Program Manager, announced TODAY the first confirmed Asian citrus psyllid find in San Luis Obispo County as reported in a San Luis Obispo County Ag Commissioner’s press release.


Hornbaker also announced a Science Advisory Panel Report Stakeholder meeting will be held on April 16, 2014 at 9 am at CDFA headquarters, 1220 N Street, Room 220, Sacramento, CA 95814. To participate via conference call, please call 866-692-3158 and use participant code 87947483.

The meeting agenda follows this article.

Martin Settevendemie, Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer, County of San Luis Obispo announced detection of an adult Asian Citrus Psyllid in an insect trap on March 26th in a residential landscape near Arroyo Grande. The discovery prompted a high-density trapping delimitation survey of the immediate and adjacent area – about a nine square mile area – and no other ACPs were found.

A quarantine restricting the movement of citrus nursery stock and citrus fruit within a five-mile radius around the detection site has already been established by the California Department of Food and Agriculture to prevent the spread of this serious plant pest. “We are working with growers to get everyone in compliance with the regulation. This will help them understand what the requirements are to move any product outside of the quarantine area,” said Settevendemie.San Luis Obispo County Ag Commissioner Logo

CDFA announced that they will be conducting spray eradication treatments approximately 800 meters around the detection to eradicate this pest.

The first detection of the Asian Citrus Psyllid in California occurred in San Diego County in 2008. Since then, it has been found throughout southern California.

“This insect pest is of serious concern to California’s commercial citrus because it is responsible for spreading Huanglongbing, also called citrus greening disease, a plant disease that is fatal to all types of citrus trees. This includes citrus trees in countless landscapes across the county as well as local commercial citrus orchards valued at over $13 million in 2013,” according to Settevendemie.

Over the past ten years nearly 50% of the commercial citrus groves in Florida have been killed by this disease. The University of Florida estimates the disease has tallied more than 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity for the state. The disease does not affect human health.

A single orange tree infected with Huanglongbing was found in a Los Angeles County backyard in 2012. To date no additional detections of the disease in California have occurred.

Staff from the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner’s office and officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture continue to search for this pest by monitoring hundreds of insect traps placed in urban neighborhoods and commercial orchards throughout the county.

“It is difficult to close off all potential pest pathways into the county. An engaged community of all county residents is critical in successfully excluding pests such as Asian Citrus Psyllid,” said Settevendemie.

Community members can do the following to protect backyard citrus trees and the local citrus industry:

        Buy Local! Purchase citrus trees from reputable local sources selling plants that have been routinely inspected by the Agricultural Commissioner’s staff.
        Do not transport citrus plants or plant parts into the county from quarantine areas. Call 805- 781-5910 for information about quarantine areas.
        Check residential landscaping often for signs of unusual symptoms or strange insects. Contact the local University of California Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Program at 805-781-5939 for help in identification of unusual plant symptoms or pests.
        If asked, allow the Agricultural Commissioner’s staff to place an insect trap in your yard and cooperate with officials if it becomes necessary to exclude or eliminate Asian Citrus Psyllid from San Luis Obispo County.

For more information about the Asian Citrus Psyllid visit the California Department of Food and Agriculture website or the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer’s website.



AGENDA FOR: ACP/HLB Ad Hoc Science Advisory Panel Report

Stakeholder Review/Conference Call

April 16, 2014, 9:00 a.m.


Call-in number: 866-692-3158

Passcode: 87947483

– This meeting is open to the General Public –



1. Call to order, introductions – Jason Leathers

2. Review of Science Advisory Panel Questions and Answers

3. Review of Science Advisory Panel Report

a. Rapid Detection of HLB Infected Trees and/or Psyllids

b. Longitudinal Study being Conducted at the UC Davis Containment Facility

c. Potential for Movement of CLas Infected ACP with Fruit Movement

d. Recommendations Regarding Areawide ACP Treatment Program

e. Recommendations Affecting Quarantine Area

f. Recommendations Affecting Citrus Nurseries

4. Additional Questions/Review Items