Melissa Cregan, Fresno County ag commissioner, delivers the 2018 Crop Report to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning in this screenshot.

published on September 10, 2019 - 11:09 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Fresno County farms shattered a record last year for crop value, hitting the $7.88 billion mark.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning received the crop report from Melissa Cregan, Fresno County agricultural commissioner, who noted that 2018’s total was 12% higher than the year prior, and substantially higher than the previous record year of 2014 at $7.06 billion.

“Although individual commodities may experience difficulties year-to-year, Fresno County continues to supply the highest quality of food and fiber nation-wide and abroad to more than 95 countries around the world,” Cregan said in a statement.

Ryan Jacobsen, CEO and executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, echoed that sentiment in remarks to the supervisors before they voted to accept the report.

“This showcases why we are the food capital of the world,” Jacobsen said.

The report notes that while surface water supplies for 2018 were below average, water carried over from the previous year helped make up for some of the shortfall. Price increases for field crops, seed crops, vegetables, fruit and nut crops, nursery and apiary also helped lead to the record showing.

Following several years of value gains, pistachios unseated poultry for the No. 3 spot by value. In 2016, pistachios came in at No. 7. In 2007, it was 18th place.

Fresno County’s 2018 pistachio crop was worth $862.14 million, up an impressive 66% compared to 2017. That led Supervisor Buddy Mendes, a farmer himself, to predict that pistachios would overtake grapes this year or by 2020.

Almonds once again emerged as the top commodity by value, worth $1.17 billion for 2018 — below the $1.22 billion in value for 2017. At No. 2, grapes were worth $1.1 billion last year, up from $951.23 million in 2017.

Fresno County’s $7.88 billion haul for 2018 would place it as California’s top agricultural county compared to the 2017 receipts for No. 1 Kern County at $7.25 billion.

The transition from summer to fall is the time when Central Valley counties start to release crop reports for the prior year. Kings County was the first to do so in August. Kings County farmers and ranchers had their second-biggest year for sales in 2018, with a value of $2.3 billion, up 14% from 2017.

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