The latest snapshot of California agriculture reveals that the 69,400 farms and ranches across the Golden State generated almost $50 billion in cash receipts from over 400 commodities in 2018, a slight increase over 2017, according to Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

“Exports for California agricultural products topped $21 billion for an increase over the prior year, as well,” she noted in the California Agricultural Statistics Review, which was published Tuesday.

California remained the leading state in cash farm receipts in 2018 with combined commodities representing ovTop 5 Ag States Cash Receipts Charter 13 percent of the U.S. total. California’s leading crops remained fruits, nuts and vegetables. Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California.

Fresno County - with hefty production of almonds, pistachios, livestock and table grapes - led the state in terms of value of agricultural production at slightly over $7.9 billion, a 12.6% increase. Kern County, which topped the list last year, was second in value of production with $7.47 billion, a 3.0 percent increase from 2017. Tulare County was third in value, with an increase of 2.3 percent in production to $7.21 billion.

California accounts for 40% of all organic production in the U.S. and organic sales continue to grow in the state. In 2018, sales of organic products in California totaled more than $10 billion, which represents an increase of 29% from 2017.

Similar to other states, the number of farms declined slightly (1.6%), and the amount of land in farms also decreased slightly to 24.3 million acres in 2018. The average farm size was 350 acres in 2018, up from 2017, but still below the national average of 443 acres.

The average value of California farm real estate increased in 2018 to $9,350 per acre, up 4.2 percent from 2017. Irrigated cropland’s value increased 4.4 percent to $14,300 per acre and non-irrigated cropland increased 7.4 percent to $5,090 per acre. The value of all cropland increased 4.6 percent to $12,170. The value of pastureland increased 1.1 percent to $2,810 per acre. The rental rate of irrigated cropland increased to $528 per acre, up from $510 per acre in 2017. Pastureland rental rates increased from 2017 rental rates, up to $13.00 per acre in 2018 from $12.00 in 2017.

California’s top-10 valued commodities for 2018 are:

  • Dairy Products, Milk — $6.37 billion
  • Grapes — $6.25 billion
  • Almonds — $5.47 billion
  • Cattle and Calves — $3.19 billion
  • Pistachios — $2.62 billion
  • Strawberries — $2.34 billion
  • Lettuce — $1.81 billion
  • Floriculture — $1.22 billion
  • Tomatoes — $1.20 billion
  • Oranges — $1.12 billion

California agricultural statistics derive primarily from USDA’s/National Agricultural Statistics Services reports. CDFA collaborates with the University of California at Davis to produce statistics for California agricultural exports. For county-level reporting please see the CDFA County Liaison site. Initial crop statistics for 2019 are expected later this year.

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