The Winner and Still Ag Champ, Fresno County! Guess What Crop is Tops.
For the second year in a row, farmers in Fresno County can say they have the most valuable commodities in the state.
Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Melissa Cregan presented the numbers to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The county grew $7.7 billion worth of crops in 2019, though that is down 2.3% from 2018.
“It’s not unexpected,” Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen said. “With Fresno County’s diversity of so many different crops, you are going to have those that are up and those that are down.”
Still, Fresno ranked ahead of Kern ($7.6 billion) and Tulare ($7.5 billion) counties. Both Kern and Tulare saw a rise year-over-year.
Ah, Nuts! Almonds, Pistachios Valued at Over $2 Billion
Almonds are the top commodity in the county in value, at $1.5 billion. Grapes were second at $962 million, followed by pistachios at $660 million. More than 78 crops had a value more than $1 million.
Jacobsen said 2019 was a yet year compared to 2018.
“Water was definitely on the stronger side,” Jacobsen said. “Water always continues to be an issue, long term for this valley and will only get exacerbated as SGMA comes into existence here.”
SGMA is the State Groundwater Management Act, that dictates how farmers can pump water and requirements to replenish its supply.
Farmers grew 6.4% more almonds from 2018, with value increasing 25% or more than $404 million.
Almonds are also the top international export for the county at 19.5% of the value of all exports. Peaches were second at 18.2%, followed by oranges, 14.3%.
Mexico was the top destination for Fresno County exports, followed by Canada, Taiwan, Japan and Korea, measured by export certificates granted.
What Will 2020 Crops Look Like?
While the 2019 crop report was better than Jacobsen expected, he is trepidatious about 2020 .
“It’s going to be really interesting as we go into the 2020 crop report with the significant effects of COVID where we end up, because we have winners and losers. And there were some very dramatic changes that we had take place in March,” Jacobsen said.