County agriculture production is highest it’s been in years
From pears to turkeys to local farmers markets, the Sacramento County crop and livestock report illustrates that Sacramento area agriculture is strong and growing; in fact, agriculture production is higher than it has ever been.
“The farm-to-fork movement is bringing a lot of recognition to local agriculture,” said Juli Jensen, Agricultural Commissioner for Sacramento County. “This is wonderful because it makes everyone more aware of the value of agriculture to our economy and identity, which in turn, makes them more inclined to protect it.”
People may not know how integral agriculture is for our local economy. Last year alone, Sacramento County produced roughly $200 million in fruit and nut crops. These crops, which include apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, walnuts and wine grapes, covered more than 40,000 acres of land.
The most lucrative and abundant commodity in our region, making up about a third of all farm commodities, is wine grapes. Last year, wine grapes alone contributed a staggering $149.5 million in sales. Milk took the second place spot, bringing in $58.6 million. The report also indicated a decrease in production of caviar, but an increase in demand for sturgeon in our area, which also produces the caviar product. According to Jensen, the increased demand was the result of overfishing of sturgeon in the Caspian Sea, between Russia and the Middle East.
Most people would name tomatoes as the largest percentage of Sacramento’s local crops; however, tomatoes are not on the top ten list. What also may actually surprise people is that last year the number of chickens raised in Sacramento County doubled, ranking poultry as number three. Rice also made the top ten list, as it has in past years, and its value more than doubled last year.
The Ten Leading Farm Commodities in 2012:
Grapes, Wine $ 149,534,000
Milk-Market $ 58,586,000
Poultry $ 43,162,000
Corn, Field $ 32,658,000
Pears, Bartlett $ 30,975,000
Nursery Stock $ 23,642,000
Hay, Alfalfa $ 16,462,000
Cattle & Calves $ 16,322,000
Aquaculture $ 15,022,000
Rice $ 8,623,000
All Others $ 65,664,586
The report also shows a schedule of Sacramento County certified farmer’s markets – an iconic symbol of Sacramento’s close proximity to fresh foods. “Farmers markets connect the growers directly to the people,” Jensen said. “The farmer’s markets are fun, attract a lot of people, and give buyers a chance to talk directly with the growers about how the various commodities they are buying were produced.”
Along with our parks, rivers and urban areas, agriculture is an intrinsic piece of the Sacramento area identity. For more information on the acreage, production and gross value of agricultural commodities in Sacramento County, view the annual Crop and Livestock Reports.