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Who's No. 1 for 3rd Straight Year? Fresno County Farmers
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 2 years ago on
November 16, 2021

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Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Creek Fire, and drought, Fresno County farmers continue to defy the odds with innovation and resiliency.

The final tally for 2020 is in, and Fresno County led the nation in crop production value for the third straight year.

County Crops Total Nearly $8 Billion

Overall, the county’s crops totaled $7.98 billion — a rise of $222.09 million or 2.86% from 2019, officials said Tuesday morning.

 

“While 2020 was a year that will always be remembered for its shuttered markets, significant price fluctuations, supply chain complications, and workforce challenges, our agricultural community pulled together to continue to feed and clothe people both near and far.” — Ryan Jacobsen, CEO, Fresno County Farm Bureau

Those figures reflect gross values and not the net return to growers.

“Fresno County is the food capital of the nation, and the 2020 crop report showcased the many reasons why,” said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen in a news release.

“While 2020 was a year that will always be remembered for its shuttered markets, significant price fluctuations, supply chain complications, and workforce challenges, our agricultural community pulled together to continue to feed and clothe people both near and far.”

Other Valley Counties Populate Nation’s Top 10

Neighboring counties accompanied Fresno in being national farm leaders. Six others cracked the U.S. Top 10: Kern, Tulare, Monterey, Stanislaus, Merced, and San Joaquin.

“California grows more than a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts, with a majority of that coming from right here in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Jacobsen.

Fresno County Department of Agriculture issued 16,808 phytosanitary certificates for 72 commodities exported to 101 countries last year, officials said. Inspectors also certified 1,403.2 acres of alfalfa, lettuce, radish, and onion grown for seed export.

Fresno County’s Top 10 crops in production value. (Fresno County Farm Bureau)

California Leads the Nation in Farm Production

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the top 10 ag states in 2020 were California, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and North Carolina.

California’s farmers and ranchers produced $49 billion in commodities, nearly 14% of the value of all crops grown in the United States. Iowa was second at about $26 billion.

Almonds continued to be a powerhouse crop in California at $5.6 billion.

California dairies also again led the nation in commodity value at $7.5 billion. Wisconsin was second with $5.8 billion.

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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