Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Creek Fire, and drought, Fresno County farmers continue to defy the odds with innovation and resiliency.
The final tally for 2020 is in, and Fresno County led the nation in crop production value for the third straight year.
County Crops Total Nearly $8 Billion
Overall, the county’s crops totaled $7.98 billion — a rise of $222.09 million or 2.86% from 2019, officials said Tuesday morning.
“While 2020 was a year that will always be remembered for its shuttered markets, significant price fluctuations, supply chain complications, and workforce challenges, our agricultural community pulled together to continue to feed and clothe people both near and far.” — Ryan Jacobsen, CEO, Fresno County Farm Bureau
Those figures reflect gross values and not the net return to growers.
“Fresno County is the food capital of the nation, and the 2020 crop report showcased the many reasons why,” said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen in a news release.
“While 2020 was a year that will always be remembered for its shuttered markets, significant price fluctuations, supply chain complications, and workforce challenges, our agricultural community pulled together to continue to feed and clothe people both near and far.”
Other Valley Counties Populate Nation’s Top 10
Neighboring counties accompanied Fresno in being national farm leaders. Six others cracked the U.S. Top 10: Kern, Tulare, Monterey, Stanislaus, Merced, and San Joaquin.
“California grows more than a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts, with a majority of that coming from right here in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Jacobsen.
Fresno County Department of Agriculture issued 16,808 phytosanitary certificates for 72 commodities exported to 101 countries last year, officials said. Inspectors also certified 1,403.2 acres of alfalfa, lettuce, radish, and onion grown for seed export.
California Leads the Nation in Farm Production
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the top 10 ag states in 2020 were California, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and North Carolina.
California’s farmers and ranchers produced $49 billion in commodities, nearly 14% of the value of all crops grown in the United States. Iowa was second at about $26 billion.
Almonds continued to be a powerhouse crop in California at $5.6 billion.
California dairies also again led the nation in commodity value at $7.5 billion. Wisconsin was second with $5.8 billion.