Grapes become Fresno County's 1st billion dollar crop

FRESNO, Calif.

Grapes growing on the vine have long been the county's top crop in the Valley's biggest industry but county supervisors were surprised to hear the Ag commissioner's annual report.

Acting Ag Commissioner Les Wright told the board, "For the first time in history Fresno County Ag produced the first billion dollar crop. Grapes produced a total of over $1.1 billion."

Production value of grapes increased by $40 million dollars. People around the globe can't get enough of Valley grapes which can be enjoyed in different ways.

Fresno County Farm Bureau executive director Ryan Jacobsen said, "The strength in it really lies in we grow all three types of grapes here. It's a combination of table grapes, raisins and obviously wine. The United States is now the largest consumer of wine in the world now."

The gross value of Fresno County's Ag production last year was $6.587 billion. Wright said the figure was 3% lower than the previous year because of water cutbacks and a 15% drop in milk prices.

He added almonds could become Fresno County's next billion dollar crop after a $120 million jump in value. "They were at $952 million this year and I really expect them with the non-bearing acreage that will be coming into production in the next year or two to exceed a billion dollars."

Fresno County Supervisor Judy Case said, "I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes the first crop of Fresno County."

The $6 billion figure ensured Fresno County's top spot among all Ag-producing counties in the U.S.

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