Jul 8, 2019
California flexes its top agricultural sales’ muscles

In U.S. agriculture, California is clearly the MVP in sales. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, California’s 70,521 farms ranked No. 1 in agricultural sales with $45.2 billion; this accounted for nearly 12 percent of the U.S. total and was over $16 billion more than the No. 2 state. In addition, Fresno, Tulare, Monterey, Kern, Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin Counties led all U.S. counties in sales. In fact, Fresno County’s agricultural sales were greater than 25 states.

The Golden State’s commodity roster ranges widely from grapes to poinsettias to mozzarella. In 2017, California led the nation in crop sales ($33.4 billion) by toping all other states in sales of fruits, nuts, and berries ($19.7 billion); vegetables ($8.2 billion); nursery, greenhouse, and floriculture production ($2.9 billion); and other crops and hay sales ($1.0 billion). California also ranked third in cotton sales ($0.5 billion).

California ranked fifth in the nation for livestock and poultry sales ($11.8 billion). California’s the No. 1 milk producer in the country ($6.5 billion); it is also a top ten producer of: cattle and calves ($3.1 billion); poultry and eggs ($1.9 billion); aquaculture ($105.6 million); sheep, goats, wool, and mohair ($86.9 million); and other animals and animal products ($76.6 million), and equine ($48.3 million).

Looking for that little known statistic to plug into your own sabermetrics of agriculture? California is the top state for using renewable energy producing systems in agriculture with 14,552 farms. Solar is the state’s most common renewable energy producing system on farms and ranches. For more Census statistics about this heavy-hitter in agriculture, check out the California state and county profiles and congressional district rankings and profiles on the NASS website.

Gary Keough, Director, NASS Pacific Region in Research and Science

Chart at top: While California’s value of agricultural products sold increased 6 percent from the last Ag Census, so did production expenses in the Golden State. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, agricultural production expenses increased 7 percent from 2012 to 2017.


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