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California Agriculture in 2016

May 16, 2018

California has led the nation in farm sales since 1948, when Los Angeles County had more farm sales than any other U.S. county. The major reason that California's farm sales of $46 billion in 2016 were almost $20 billion higher than Number 2 Iowa at $27 billion is the dominance of high-value fruit, nut, and vegetable crops. Three-fourths of California's farm sales are fruits and nuts, vegetables and melons, and horticultural specialties such as floriculture, nurseries, and mushrooms, so-called FVH crops.

The value of California crops was $35.4 billion in 2016 and the value of livestock was $10.5 billion. California's leading commodities were milk worth $6.1 billion, grapes worth $5.6 billion, almonds worth $5.2 billion, cattle worth $2.5 billion, and lettuce worth $2 billion. These five commodities accounted for almost half of California's farm sales, although the value of milk, almonds, and cattle fell between 2014 and 2016.

The four leading farm counties accounted for 52 percent of the state's farm sales: Kern had farm sales of $7.2 billion; Tulare $6.4 billion; Fresno $6.2 billion; and Monterey $4.3 billion. Kern accounted for 25 percent of the state's grape sales, 21 percent of almond sales, and 42 percent of pistachio sales.

California exported farm commodities worth $20 billion in 2016, led by $4.5 billion worth of almonds, $1.5 billion worth of wine, and $1.4 billion worth of dairy products. The major destinations for California's agricultural exports were the EU, taking $3.5 billion worth of California farm commodities, Canada, $3.3 billion, China, $2 billion, Japan, $1.4 billion, and Mexico, $1 billion.

The figures below are from the California Agricultural Statistics Review, 2016-17.

California's Most Valuable Farm Commodities, 2014-16

Top 20 Commodities for 2014?2016
  Value and Rank 1
Commodity 2014 2015 2016
  $1,000
Milk and Cream 9,358,087 1 6,293,210 1 6,065,700 1
Grapes 5,239,693 3 5,310,303 3 5,581,410 2
Almonds (shelled) 7,388,000 2 5,868,750 2 5,158,160 3
Cattle & Calves 3,732,830 4 3,204,800 4 2,526,285 4
Lettuce, All 1,998,042 6 2,417,386 5 1,960,266 5
Berries, All Strawberries 2,437,918 5 1,875,483 6 1,834,783 6
Pistachios 1,834,980 8 888,300 13 1,506,120 7
Tomatoes, All 1,735,476 9 1,642,628 7 1,329,523 8
Walnuts 1,907,140 7 1,012,020 9 1,241,660 9
Oranges, All 942,171 14 773,356 15 826,294 10
Broilers 1,030,700 13 903,297 12 800,893 11
Broccoli 795,041 15 1,006,253 10 779,186 12
Hay, All 1,343,434 10 957,860 11 774,527 13
Carrots, All 609,780 17 678,870 16 734,828 14
Rice 1,145,220 11 777,151 14 704,411 15
Lemons 504,345 19 548,055 18 593,869 16
Peppers, All 505,880 18 444,469 20 496,770 17
Tangerines 491,773 21 413,001 22 457,433 18
Raspberries 450,900 21 566,015 17 380,447 19
Cotton, All 739,186 16 389,427 23 358,226 20
1 Total value is based on USDA Economic Research Service cash receipts, November 29, 2017 release.

California's Leading Farm Counties, 2016

Top 10 Agricultural Counties
  Total Value and Rank  
County $1,000 Leading Commodities
  2015 2016  
Kern 6,880,495 2 7,187,938 1 Almonds, Grapes (Table), Milk, Pistachios
Tulare 6,980,772 1 6,369,926 2 Milk, Cattle & Calves, Oranges, Grapes (Table)
Fresno 6,680,287 3 6,182,541 3 Almonds, Poultry, Grapes (Raisin), Milk
Monterey 4,705,143 4 4,256,073 4 Strawberries, Lettuce, Broccoli, Cauliflower
Merced 3,589,900 6 3,447,830 5 Milk, Almonds, Chickens, Cattle & Calves
Stanislaus 3,879,333 5 3,261,412 6 Almonds, Milk, Chickens, Walnuts
San Joaquin 2,732,900 7 2,337,899 7 Almonds, Milk, Grapes (Wine), Walnuts
Ventura 2,198,555 8 2,110,187 8 Strawberries, Lemons, Raspberries, Celery
Imperial 1,875,158 11 2,063,215 9 Cattle & Calves, Lettuce, Hay (Alfalfa), Broccoli
Kings 2,021,052 9 2,002,192 10 Milk, Cattle & Calves, Almonds, Cotton (Pima)
Source: California County Agricultural Commissioners' Reports

Leading Destinations for California's Farm Exports, 2016

California's Top 10 Agricultural Export Markets, 2016
Rank Country Export Value Leading Exports
  $1 Million  
1 European Union 3,488 Almonds, Wine, Walnuts
2 Canada 3,305 Wine, Tomatoes Processed, Strawberries
3 China/Hong Kong 2,044 Pistachios, Almonds, Wine
4 Japan 1,440 Rice, Almonds, Hay
5 Mexico 1,025 Dairy and Products, Tomatoes Processed, Almonds
6 Korea 895 Oranges and Products, Almonds, Rice
7 India 664 Almonds, Cotton, Walnuts
8 Turkey 414 Walnuts, Almonds, Rice
9 United Arab Emirates 402 Almonds, Walnuts, Hay
10 Vietnam 383 Almonds, Walnuts, Dairy and Products