Fresno County agriculture tops $7 billion in 2014

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Despite the on-going drought Fresno County still managed a record-breaking crop and livestock report for 2014. It was worth over $7 billion dollars. (Benjamin Kirk)

Despite the on-going drought Fresno County still managed a record-breaking crop and livestock report for 2014. It was worth over $7 billion dollars.

A high-value nut crop helped make up for big losses in field crops but Fresno County's ag production was not enough to over-take Tulare County which remains number-one.

Almonds strengthened their hold as the county's top crop - worth $1.3 billion dollars. Ag Commissioner Les Wright called the report a testament to farmers' determination and resiliency.

Wright said the highlights included, "Almonds, grapes, poultry, livestock. All segments of livestock did well this year. Cotton was held in the top 10 which surprised me this year."

Over 200,000 acres went unplanted and yet the overall value of 400 commodities increased 9%. Field crops like cotton, alfalfa and lettuce took the biggest hit.

Wright told the county supervisors, "You've gone from 15,000 acres of lettuce to 4,000 of lettuce."

Ryan Jacobsen of the Fresno County Farm Bureau said, "Those crops are obviously the first to go when you have water shortages."

Field crop production was down 36% as farmers used their water to keep grape vineyards and nut trees going.

Jacobsen explained two areas kept the overall ag value high. "When you look at the dairy side, incredibly strong. Combine that with obviously almonds, pistachios, walnuts are still near top levels that we have seen historically."

But Tulare County remained the nation's number-one producer at $8.084 billion dollars in gross ag value - up 10%. Kern County was second at $7.55 billion - up 12%. Fresno County, the long-time leader until last year, was third at $7.039 billion.

Wright added, "Citrus took a pretty good hit."

An estimated 50,000 acres of citrus was taken out of production. It actually dropped out of Fresno County's list of top ten crops. Citrus was replaced by peaches.




Related Topics:
businessagricultureag reportdroughtFresno County
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