2017 Fresno County Crop Report Totals $7 Billion

Fresno County’s Ag Value Increases Significantly in 2017 Crop and Livestock Report

 

The Fresno County Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Crop and Livestock Report (Crop Report) was presented to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. Overall, the 2017 agricultural production value in Fresno County totaled $7.028 billion, showing a 13.58 percent increase from 2016’s $6.18 billion.

“Once again, Fresno County farmers and ranchers have produced an agricultural bounty for the world,” stated Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Les Wright. “While much of this food and fiber goes towards feeding and supplying our nation, the Fresno County Department of Agriculture also issued 18,604 phytosanitary certificates for 133 commodities destined for 97 countries around the globe in 2017.”

“This Crop Report is comprised of nearly 400 commodities, of which 73 crops exceed $1 million in value,” Commissioner Wright continued. “Crop values may vary year-to-year based on production, markets and weather conditions, but our farmers and ranchers, their employees and all those who support their efforts work tirelessly year-around to bring in the harvest.”

With the great diversity of crops in Fresno County and the many variables in agriculture, it’s a given that some crops will be up in value while others are down. Increases were seen in a majority of the Crop Report segments, including field crops, seed crops, fruit and nut crops, livestock and poultry, livestock and poultry products, apiary products and pollination services, and industrial crops. Decreases were seen in vegetables and nursery. Surface water supplies were significantly better in 2017, although many Westside federal water contractors received much of that good news too late to benefit them with additional annual plantings.

Fresno County’s Top 10 Crops in 2017 (Source: 2017 Fresno County Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report)

Too often, the Crop 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 (income before expenses) and not the net return to producers.

“The San Joaquin Valley is the food capital of the World, and Fresno County is the region’s heart,” said Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB) CEO Ryan Jacobsen. “Daily, millions of food servings unceremoniously originate within our backyard, the result of generations of families and agricultural infrastructure that has been built to furnish an unbelievably productive, wholesome and affordable food supply.”

“The annual Crop Reports are more than numbers,” Jacobsen continued. “They provide the industry, the public and policymakers, regardless of the overall number, the opportunity to salute local agriculture and give thanks for the food and fiber, jobs and economic benefits, agriculture provides Fresno County.”

One popular component of the report is the review of the county’s “Top 10 Crops” that offers a quick glimpse of the diversity of products grown here. In 2017, these crops accounted for three-fourths of the report’s value. Almonds continue to lead the way as Fresno County’s only billion-dollar crop in 2017, representing 17.4 percent of the total gross value of the Crop Report. Added to this year’s list was mandarins at number six. Dropping out of the “Top 10 Crops” was garlic.

This year’s Crop Report was a salute to the Fresno-Kings Cattlemen’s Association. The organization is one of 38 affiliates of the California Cattlemen’s Association, a non-profit trade association that represents ranchers and beef producers in legislative and regulatory affairs.

Fresno County Agricultural Value Declines in 2015

Fresno County Agricultural Value Declines in 2015

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.

Les Wright Fresno County Ag Commissioner
Les Wright, Fresno County Ag Commissioner
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.

Ryan Jacobsen
Ryan Jacobsen, CEO Fresno County Farm Bureau

“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 info@fcfb.org. 
Fresno County Crops 2015
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.

Westlands Water Allocation “Despicable”

Westlands Water Allocation “Despicable”

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Earlier TODAY, the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) stunned the farming industry by announcing a  5% water allocation for most of the farmland to the Westlands Water District on the Westside in the Central San Joaquin Valley. This single digit water allocation to the comes during an El Niño year of wet weather, following four years of drought and restricted water deliveries to Westlands of 40% in 2012, 20% (2013), 0% (2014) and 0% again (2015).

Westlands Water District LogoLes Wright, agriculture commissioner for the Fresno County Department of Agriculture—ground zero for agricultural water cutbacks, said, “I can’t think of a word to describe how I am feeling about our federal water managers. It’s despicable what they’re doing to this Valley.”

“You have two major reservoirs in flood stage,” said Wright, “but they are refusing to turn the pumps on. It’s like they want to starve out the Valley, its farmers and communities. Agriculture is the major economic driver for the Valley communities, and they’re doing everything they can to drive the people out of this Valley.”

Established in 1902, the USBR, according to its website, is best known for the building of more than 600 dams and reservoirs, plus power plants and canals, constructed in 17 western states. These water projects led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. 
Sign of drought Westlands Water District Turnout

The USBR website reads, “Today, we are the largest wholesaler of water in the country. We bring water to more than 31 million people, and provide one out of five Western farmers (140,000) with irrigation water for 10 million acres of farmland that produce 60% of the nation’s vegetables and 25% of its fruits and nuts.”

Yet, some Western farmers have received a 0% water allocation for each of the past two years, and now may receive only 5% this year. Already, Westlands Water District reports over 200,000 acres of prime farmland in the district have already been fallowed.

Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO
Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO

“Reservoirs throughout the state have been filling,” said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO, Ryan Jacobsen, in a statement TODAY. “However, the government’s restrictive interpretation has resulted in the permanent loss of 789,000 acre-feet of water,” said Jacobsen. “Since December 2015, more than 200 billion gallons of water have been forever lost to the ocean, with almost no water being allocated to agriculture.”

Commissioner Wright reflected, “President Obama and both California senators have been here in the Valley, on the ground. They have seen what we are doing. They recognize the crisis; yet they refuse to use their authorities to correct the situationin a year when we’re dumping millions of gallons of water to the ocean.”

Wright explained the federal government is sending fresh water to the ocean in excess of what is needed for the environment and the protected species. “They are just wasting the water,” he said, “and yet, we have the Governor telling us to cut back 25% to 35%. And all of that water we saved last summer and in the last year, they have more than doubled the waste.”

“Where is the governor on this issue?” Wright asked. “It is despicable what the government is doing to its people.”

Inspections Underway in Central Valley for Huanglongbing, Asian Citrus Psyllid

On Alert for the Asian Citrus Psyllid

 

Source: Robert Rodriguez; The Fresno Bee

 

Armed with magnifying glasses and bug-sucking aspirators, state agriculture technicians are in Fresno, checking residential citrus trees for any signs of the Asian citrus psyllid and the tree-killing disease it can carry.

The psyllid poses one of the greatest threats to California’s nearly $2 billion citrus industry and officials want to keep it from gaining a foothold in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Inspectors will spend several weeks in the Fresno area and then move into Tulare County — the largest citrus producer in the state.

“We don’t want this disease here,” said Cora Barrera, a state technician. “It would be a disaster.”

Barrera recently checked several trees at a home near Fresno Pacific University in southeast Fresno. Using her magnifying glass, she looked for tell-tale signs on the tree’s leaves: dull orange-yellow nymphs and the waxy tubules that push honeydew away from their body. She also looked for adult psyllids that are about 1/8 of an inch and brownish.

When Barrera finds a psyllid, she catches the insect using an aspirator and drops it into a glass tube. Any bugs caught will be tested for the disease.

A team of about six state technicians, including Barrera, will visit thousands of homes in the city.

Jennifer Romero, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said that so far no psyllids have been found nor any sign of the disease they carry, huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening.

Citrus farmers fear the disease because there is no known cure. Infected trees produce bitter-tasting fruit and eventually die. In Florida, the nation’s orange juice capital, the disease has caused $1.3 billion in lost revenue over the past several years.

So far, the disease has only been found in one residential tree in the Hacienda Heights area of Southern California. But the psyllids have spread throughout the region, and a massive quarantine prohibits the movement of citrus fruit and trees out of the area.

Despite the regulatory net, the bug has hitchhiked its way to the Valley, having been caught in insect traps in Fresno and Tulare counties. To keep the psyllid in check, farmers have sprayed their groves and the state has treated residential trees where the psyllids have been caught.

A quarantine also has been put in place that covers 870 square miles of the Valley’s citrus belt.

But all that still isn’t enough, experts say. One key lesson learned from Florida’s losing battle with the disease is early detection and prevention.

Door-to-door residential inspections have been used in Southern California since the discovery of the disease in 2012.

Using a method developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist Tim Gottwald, the survey targets specific areas with potential risk factors. The factors are many, but include proximity to commercial citrus groves, roads used by trucks transporting citrus and flea markets.

Experts say citrus trees at flea markets and swap meets are sold without the benefit of government inspection and should be avoided.

So far, the state’s inspectors have surveyed more than 1,000 homes in Fresno and hundreds more remain.

Romero said fortunately for the inspectors most residents don’t mind the visits.

“We really have not had any problems and it helps that people are aware of the disease,” she said. “They also don’t want to lose their own trees.”

If the resident isn’t home, the state will leave an information sheet about the bug and disease and information for setting up a future home visit.

Gene Hannon, entomologist with the Fresno County Department of Agriculture, urged owners of citrus trees to be vigilant about checking their own trees. He also said that people should avoid bringing home any citrus from the Southern California area; buying citrus trees at flea markets; or grafting trees from Southern California or any other region with the disease.

“The more people are aware, the better able we are to keep this disease out of our area,” Hannon said. “We don’t want to have this problem.”

The Benefits of Eating Almonds

Source: Alissa Fleck; SF Gate

Natural, unsalted almonds are a tasty and nutritious snack with plenty of health benefits. Loaded with minerals, they are also among the healthiest of tree nuts. Just a handful of nutrient-rich almonds a day helps promote heart health and prevent weight gain, and it may even help fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Nutrition

Eating about 23 almonds a day is an easy way to incorporate many crucial nutrients into your diet. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Additionally, almonds are a significant source of protein and fiber, while being naturally low in sugar. One 23-almond serving packs 13 grams of healthy unsaturated fats, 1 gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol or salt. Of all tree nuts, almonds rank highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin content by weight. There are 160 calories in 23 almonds. While many of these calories come from fat, it is primarily the healthy unsaturated fats and not the unhealthy saturated kind.

Heart Health

According to the FDA, eating 1.5 ounces a day of most nuts, like almonds, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Many of the nutrients in almonds help contribute to increased heart health. For one, almonds are rich in magnesium, which is critical in preventing heart attacks and hypertension. Several clinical studies have also shown almonds can be effective in reducing bad cholesterol and preserving healthy cholesterol, which plays a major role in heart health.

Weight Maintenance

Nuts, like almonds, are also beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight. The fiber, protein and fat content of almonds means it only takes a handful to keep you feeling full and satisfied so you won’t have the urge to overeat. According to “Fitness” magazine, the magnesium in almonds helps regulate blood sugar, which is key in reducing food cravings. Almonds may even be able to block the body’s absorption of calories, making them the ultimate weight-loss-friendly snack. Because almonds are naturally high in calories, it’s important to limit your serving size to the recommended 1 ounce, or 23 nuts.

Other Health Benefits

Almonds may also promote gastrointestinal health and even combat diabetes. The high fiber content of almonds gives them prebiotic properties, which contributes to health in the gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics are non-digestible food substances, which serve as food for the good bacteria in the intestinal tract and help maintain a healthy balance. According to a study by the American Diabetes Association, a Mediterranean diet incorporating nuts, such as almonds, helps fight diabetes even without significant changes to weight, physical activity or caloric intake.

Raw vs. Roasted

Almonds are available in a variety of preparations and it can be tough to know which is healthiest. Raw, unsalted almonds are a safe bet, but some people prefer the roasted taste. Both raw and roasted almonds pack a high dose of nutrients and minerals. Raw almonds have more naturally occurring beneficial fats, as some are lost in the roasting process. Dry roasted almonds have the same amount of calories as raw almonds, while almonds roasted in oil contain slightly more calories.

The Fresno County Department of Agriculture reported that almonds have become the county’s newest billion dollar crop; producing a total gross value of over $1.1 billion.