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

ACP Found Near Juice Plant

More Asian Citrus Psyllids Found in Tulare County, 10 ACPs near Juice Plant

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor, and Laurie Greene, Editor

 

Announced Today, more Asian Citrus Psyllids (ACP) were found recently in several Tulare County traps, two of which were adjacent to an orange juice plant near Tipton.

“There were a few [ACPs] on sticky traps on a residential tree, one in a commercial grove, and even more concerning, four on one and six on a second sticky card near the juice plant,” said Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County ag commissioner.” ACP is known to vector Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, a disease that is fatal for citrus trees.

Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County ag commissioner
Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County ag commissioner

“The juice plant ACP finds could have come from southern California trees, most likely from Ventura, Orange, Riverside, and Imperial Counties, that were stripped of crop and did not go through a shed,” said Kinoshita, referring to a necessary cleaning protocol. “It’s very frustrating because there’s a certain protocol in shipping citrus but not everybody follows it.”

“When citrus is field-run [from the field to the packing shed],” continued Kinoshita, “the fruit should be separated from stems and leaves—which may harbor ACPs—then cleaned and manipulated over rollers before being packed for shipping or transported in bulk by truck to the juice plant.”

“So it’s a real concern finding ACPs at the Tipton juice plant,” Kinoshita explained, “because it is isolated from our citrus belt and they are the first ACPs found near a plant. It means that the psyllids possibly hitchhiked to the plant in Tipton, which is right along Highway 99. Even if the fruit had been cleaned, the psyllids, which are strong fliers, could have ended up in the cab of the truck and transported to Tulare County,” noted Kinoshita.

Kinoshita noted protection spray protocols are now in motion. “We’ve got two active programs, residential treatments in unison with our orchard treatments, and those are all managed by a treatment coordinator who works with our treatment groups. These are smaller groups of growers, so their treatments are hopefully done within a 2-week period to cover an area and try to control this pest.”

“The Number One citrus county in California doesn’t need ACP,” said Kinoshita, “and heaven forbid they come in while infected with HLB disease! Already about 20 trees have tested positive for the fatal HLB—all in southern California, starting with Hacienda Heights in April 2012, with more found in and around San Gabriel residential areas, last year in July and this year in February.”

Kinoshita advocated for everyone to stay vigilant and keep educating—not only the citizens of the state, but these transporters too. “They need to be more careful,” said Kinoshita. “All equipment that moves though the citrus groves must be cleaned before moving into another grove. It’s going to take everyone’s cooperation.”

“There is so much capability for [ACP] hitchhiking into this County where we are ground zero for potential problems—for the sheer number of packing sheds, orange groves and juice plants. So it’s a pretty difficult situation, but fortunately we’ve got a system that is in place; we just have to keep at it and not let our guard down,” she said.

High Pricing Keeps Tulare County Ag #1

Tulare County Ag Tops all Counties

By Laurie Greene, Editor

The 2014 crop report from Tulare County indicates another record-setting year. Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Ag Commissioner, noted how well the dairy industry did, “30% of our overall value was actually milk, so dairy is incredibly important to our county. They had some good prices for most of the year. That is what brought up the value of milk to $2.5 billion. It is a significant increase over the prior year. A little bit more yield, but it is the price that kicked up well over two billion dollars.”

Tulare County Ag sales topped $8 billion in 2014, and the dairy industry overcame significant pricing obstacles to contribute to the County’s success.

Kinoshita continued, “We’ve got several classes of milk, and California producers are at a disadvantage to the other folks in Wisconsin or Nebraska, or wherever milk is produced. California producers feel singled out. They have their own system by the Secretary of Ag, so they have lobbied to get some hearings to be put under the federal system of pricing. California is lower than the federal standard.”

Citrus sales also played an important role in setting the new sales record, she said, “They had a really good year and went up considerably. So there is our number three crop. We are the nation’s number one citrus county. When our growers are having a good year, it benefits the county. We have 71 citrus packing sheds in our county and all the major juicing plants in California are right here.”

Kinoshita also mentioned some of the ways that citrus has become the number three crop, “It is sort of supply and demand, and great marketing. We ship to 90 different countries around the world. A portion of our production is exported.”

In 2014, livestock in general was up 40%, which also made an impact on sales in Tulare County, “You’ll find when you go to a grocery store that steaks, chicken, and turkey all cost more. So all of our species had an increase in price per unit for this crop reporting year.”

NEW TULARE COUNTY ASIAN CITRUS PSYLLID DETECTIONS NEAR EXETER  

BREAKING NEWS 

 

The Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s office announced TODAY that one additional Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) has been detected on a trap south of the city of Exeter. The latest interception was confirmed by the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA). Maps and current information are available on the Agricultural Commissioner’s website by visiting: http://agcomm.co.tulare.ca.us/default/.

CDFA has already begun to saturate the affected area with detection traps in order to determine the extent of any infestation.The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and CDFA will work collaboratively to determine what steps are taken next.

The Asian citrus psyllid is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will decline in health, producing bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies. To date, HLB has been detected on just one residential property in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“Our staff will continue to support the efforts of our $750 million citrus industry, as well as our residential citrus owners,” said Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita. “I want to emphasize that citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health.”

Residents in the area who think they may have seen the pest are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner at (559) 684-3350. Media inquiries related to technical questions about Asian Citrus Psyllid and Huanglongbing disease are encouraged to contact Katie Rowland, Account Coordinator for Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc. at (661) 817-3638. For additional inofrmaiton, click on the USDA’s Save Our Citrus website.

 

 

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: Two New ACPs Found in One Trap Near Exeter

CDFA Has Saturated Exeter Area with Extra ACP Detection Traps

The Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s offices announed TODAY that two additional Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) have been detected on one trap south of the city of Exeter. The latest interceptions were confirmed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Maps and current information are available on the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s website.

CDFA has already begun to saturate the affected areas with detection traps in order to determine the extent of any infestation.The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and CDFA will work collaboratively to determine what steps are taken next.

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts  for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will decline in health,producing bitter, misshaped fruit untilitdies. To date, HLB has been detected on just one residential property in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita said that her staff will continue to support the efforts of our $750 million citrus industry, as well as our residential citrus owners. “I want to emphasize that citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health,” said Kinoshita.

Residents in the area who think they may have seen ACPs are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner.

Media inquiries related to technical questions about Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing (HLB) disease are encouraged to contact Katie Rowland, Account Coordinator for Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc. at (661) 817-3638.

The best way to fight HLB is to suppress the spread of ACPs which can carry it. So, California Citrus Research Board hired Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, (NST) a public relations firm, to raise awareness of ACPs and HLB, especially among the many California homeowners with backyard citrus trees who may unknowingly be harboring the pest, and to encourage the public to take necessary steps to save California citrus.

 

 

 

Tulare County Reports Stellar 2013 Ag Year!

Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner, reports the county’s 2013 total gross production value  increased over 25% to just over $7B. Gross values for Milk, Tulare’s leading ag commodity; livestock and poultry; fruit and nut crops; nursery products; and vegetable crops all increased. Field Crops decreased 6.5% due to a shift towards small grain silage crops.

 

2013 ANNUAL CROP AND LIVESTOCK REPORT

Tulare County Ag Value Just Behind Fresno!

Tulare County 2012 Crop Report Production Value Up 10 Percent

Tulare County’s total gross production value for 2012 is $6.22 billion. The report, released today, showed an increase of  $581 million, or 10 percent above the 2011 value of $5.6 billion.
Dairy products continue to be the leading agricultural commodity in the County, with a total gross value of $1.8 billion, a decrease of 12 percent.
“Milk represents 29 percent of the total crop and livestock value for 2012,” said Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner. “Total milk production in Tulare County remained relatively stable,” she said. 

Possibly, if milk prices were a little higher during the year, Tulare County would have beat Fresno County for the first time!
“Livestock and Poultry’s gross value of $661 million represents an increase of 5.8 percent above 2011, mostly due to an increase in value for turkeys, cattle and calves,” noted Kinoshita.
Fruit and nut commodities were valued at $2.8 billion representing an increase of 29 percent. “The majority of this gain was the result of an excellent year for our grape category,” Kinoshita noted.
The total value of all field crops was $776 million, an increase of 24 percent from 2011. “Local demand for dairy feed continues to keep high values for our field crops. Nursery products were valued at $67 million, representing an increase of 2.5 percent over last year. “This minor increase is a reflection of the continued uncertainties in both the housing and agricultural markets,” Kinoshita explained.
Vegetable crops were valued at $20 million in 2012, representing a less than one percent increase.
“The 2012 report covers more than 120 different commodities, 43 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 84 countries throughout the world,” said Kinoshita.
Kinoshita expressed appreciation to her staff, particularly Lea Pereira, Jacqui Balderas, and Dennis Haines for their contributions to the report.