Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Dairy Pushes Tulare to Top Ag County in Nation. Grapes Displace Almonds as Fresno's Top Crop.
gvw_edward_smith
By Edward Smith
Published 6 months ago on
October 11, 2023

Share

Tulare County took the title for top ag-producing county in the nation for 2022, beating out both Fresno and Kern counties.

With the announcement of the Fresno County 2022 Crop Report on Tuesday comes the news that Tulare County’s $8.6 billion in ag values surged past Fresno County’s $8.1 billion and Kern County’s $7.7 billion.

Tulare County released its crop report on Sept. 26, two weeks after Kern County’s totals came out.

Tulare County ag values increased by 6.5% while Fresno remained stagnant, growing only .12%. Kern County ag values decreased by 7%.

The three counties compete annually for bragging rights at the nation’s top ag-producing county.

Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Tom Tucker called the record-breaking amount a “milestone.”

“We have reached $8.6 billion in value with our agricultural products, things that are grown and sold here in the county and across the world for that matter,” Tucker said.

Fresno County Crop Values

The top 10 crops in Fresno County in 2022, according to the Fresno County crop report. (Fresno County Ag Commissioner)

Feed Costs Followed High Milk Demand. Dairyman Predicts Higher Beef Prices

The value of dairy products, including cheese, powder, and liquid milk, shot up by 38%, according to the Tulare County crop report.

In total, milk grossed $2.7 billion, up from $1.9 billion in 2021.

Strong domestic consumption and strong export markets for cheese and whey powder fueled that push, Tucker said.

Tulare County Supervisor Pete Vander Poel said in the board meeting that that value was achieved without adding a single dairy.

“This has everything to do with the market supply and demand,” Vander Poel said.

But that increase in value came with higher costs for dairies.

“Yeah, we had good milk prices and everybody says ‘you should be making good money you have good milk prices,’ ” said Tyler Ribeiro, owner of Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare. “But when you have record-setting input price, you have record-setting alfalfa price and corn — you can’t get a break. That margin shrinks.”

Tulare County Crop Values

Tulare County ag values by category over the past five years. (Tulare County Ag Commissioner)

While the 2022-23 water year was remarkable for its rainfall, the 2021-22 water year was remarkable for its lack of rainfall.

Ranchers had to truck alfalfa in. And regulations along the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley and Arizona began to kick in, increasing costs.

More recently, Ribeiro is starting to see feed prices coming down.

At the same time, beef prices are “through the roof,” he said.

“It’s higher than I’ve ever seen it,” Ribeiro said. The beef industry relies on financing. It can cost $3,000 to feed an animal, and because of that, there’s been a shortage of animals.

That shortage now could mean high prices next year, Ribeiro said.

“But that’s just speculation. I don’t know if I’d hang my hat on that,” he said.

The high beef prices have contributed to the decline in Tulare County dairies. With prices so high, some dairy farmers have made the choice to sell their herd, Ribeiro said.

High economic, political, and environmental regulatory costs have made high beef prices more attractive, Ribeiro said.

“So we are going to be seeing a shrink in dairy animals. We’re going to see a shrink in milk flow. I would assume here that’s probably greater than we’ve seen in the last few years,” Ribeiro said.

Traditionally, grape harvesting is labor-intensive. But it’s becoming increasingly mechanized. (Shutterstock)

Grapes in Fresno County Take Top Spot for First Time in 10 Years

The powerhouse almond crop farmers have relied on for years to buoy other commodity prices has stumbled in the past few years. High supply combined with difficulty exporting collapsed prices.

Almonds brought Fresno County growers $1.14 billion in gross value in 2022.

Reported acreage in the Fresno County crop report increased 16,479 acres year-over-year, but prices continued to slip in 2022. A ton of almonds grossed $3,148, according to the crop report, down from $3,736 in 2021. In 2018, almonds sold for $4,626 a ton.

Ag commissioners determine values through surveys sent to growers.

Fresno County Ag Commissioner Melissa Cregan said they determine an average based on what growers report.

“Understandably, there’s folks out there that are hesitant to fill those out,” Cregan said in a presentation to the Board of Supervisors.

As almonds retreated, grapes came in to take their place.

The combined value of raisins, table grapes, and wine grapes decreased to $1.2 billion from $1.3 billion in 2021. Grapes have not been the top crop since 2012, Cregan said.

Pistachios came in third at $705.9 million.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

DON'T MISS

‘Digital Democracy’ Project Penetrates California’s Opaque Political Processes

DON'T MISS

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

DON'T MISS

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

DON'T MISS

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

DON'T MISS

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

DON'T MISS

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

DON'T MISS

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

DON'T MISS

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

DON'T MISS

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

UP NEXT

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

UP NEXT

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

UP NEXT

Fresno Monopoly is Coming. You Have a Chance to Make It Your Own.

UP NEXT

After Fong Ruling, a ‘Bitter Pill to Swallow’ for US Senate Losers Katie Porter & Barbara Lee?

UP NEXT

Fresno’s ‘Rods on the Bluff’ Is Driven by Friendship, Creativity, and Achievement

UP NEXT

This Chill Tabby Cat Loves Hanging Out With People. Is He Your ‘Purrfect’ Match?

UP NEXT

Legendary Comedians Seinfeld and Carolla Lead Fresno Entertainment Lineup

UP NEXT

Fresno’s Marjaree Mason Center Secures $850K Federal Funding Boost for New Resource Center

UP NEXT

Pistachio Growers Banking on World Famous Chef to Grow Their Markets

UP NEXT

Fast Food Wage Hike Impacts Fresno Restaurateurs of All Menu Types and Sizes

Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

2 days ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

2 days ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

2 days ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

2 days ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

2 days ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

2 days ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

2 days ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

2 days ago

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

2 days ago

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

2 days ago

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

Last June, more than half of California’s lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike, with no particular ideological preference — attended ...

16 hours ago

16 hours ago

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

16 hours ago

‘Digital Democracy’ Project Penetrates California’s Opaque Political Processes

1 day ago

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

2 days ago

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

2 days ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

2 days ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

2 days ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

2 days ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend