Pistachio acreage increased significantly — to 47,600 acres from 41,800 — grossing a $90 million increase year-over-year in 2020 in Madera County. File photo
Written by Edward Smith
Madera County is reporting an overall loss in ag income for 2020.
Madera County is ranked No. 10 in California with ag production last year valued at $1.95 billion, a decrease of $52.03 million — 2.6% — year over year.
Ag Commissioner Rusty Landsberger attributes the loss to Covid-19 conditions, ongoing drought, water deliveries, labor shortages, export markets and decreased commodity values. Ag values also dropped in 2019 from 2018, largely attributed to a stabilization in prices.
Almonds and milk retained their No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, while pistachios booted grape products to take the No. 3 position. Figs moved to No. 7 after not being in the top ten in 2019.
Bearing-acreage for almonds increased to 157,000 harvested acres from 149,000 acres in 2019. Production per acre also increased to 1.21 tons from 1.12. Overall, however, prices per ton fell to $3,482 from $4,821. Total almond value dropped to $661.48 million from $804.53 million.
In 2020, shipping disruptions upended export markets, negatively impacting Madera County’s nut crop.
Across the board, grape acreage decreased in 2020 from 2019. A slight increase in values for table grapes was not enough to counteract a 500-acre decrease. Combined with a decrease in productivity, the value of table grapes declined to $32.49 million from $44.26 million. The most popular raisin variety nearly halved — dropping to $44.62 million from $80.34 million in 2019. In total, grapes dropped to $221.03 million from $267.76 million.
Pistachio acreage increased significantly — to 47,600 acres from 41,800 — grossing a $90 million increase year-over-year. Pistachios were valued at $285.41 million from $191.67 million in 2019.
In all, fruits and nuts declined to $1.34 billion from $1.42 billion in 2019.
After suffering an initial drop-off in values with restaurants and schools closing, milk grossed a $44.36 million increase in value to $317.87 million. Not only did production increase to 17,090,000 hundredweight from 16,780,000, price per hundredweight increased to $18.60 from $16.30 in 2019.
Those in the dairy industry attributed increases to a dairy-buying program from the federal government.