Fresno County’s agriculture production in 2018 hit a record $7.89 billion, a 12% increase over 2017 numbers, with almonds, grapes and pistachios leading the list, according to an annual report from the county's ag commissioner.
The previous record was in 2014, when crop values totaled $7.07 billion. The numbers reflect commodities for fresh and processing markets, and include row crops, dairy, livestock and other production.
Overall, the county’s fruit and nut crops were worth $4.36 billion, an 8% increase from 2017, topping the $4 billion mark for just the second time. Vegetable production values rose a whopping 54%, to $1.52 billion, about 19.3% of the county’s overall ag production.
The numbers don’t represent net income or losses to the producers, Fresno County Agriculture Commission Melissa Cregan wrote in the annual report.
“Crop values vary from year to year based on production, market fluctuations and weather,” she said in the report. “It is important to note the figures provided in this report reflect gross values and do not take into account the costs of production, marketing, transportation, or other ancillary costs.”
The top 10 crops by value in Fresno County in 2018 (and 2017 rank) were:
- Almonds, $1.178 billion (1)
- Grapes (including fresh, wine, juice and raisin), $1.107 billion (2)
- Pistachios, $862.144 million (4)
- Poultry, $596.477 million (3)
- Garlic, $435.340 million (12)
- Milk, $415.812 million (5)
- Cattle, $392.235 million (7)
- Onions, $370.384 million (13)
- Tomatoes $324.508 (8)
- Mandarins, $234.969 (6)
Fruits and nuts
Nuts are an important crop in Fresno County. Almonds have surpassed the billion-dollar mark for five years and accounted for 15% of the entire agriculture production in the county in 2018. Pistachios, which moved up a slot, saw a record crop value, according to the report.
While total grape crop values topped $1 billion, the table grape crop was valued at $409.82 million, up from $359.27 million in 2017. Per-ton prices for table grape varieties dropped, but the segment was buoyed by increased yields and more acres being harvested, according to the report.
Oranges dropped from the top 10 for the first time since 2014, although the total value rose $8.81 million to $212.13 million.
Mandarins’ dramatic drop from 2017 shows a value decrease of more than 46%, with a $197.68 million plummet in crop value — despite an increase of about 1,000 harvested acres.
Two years of lower vegetable crop values were wiped away with a 54% increase, to $1.52 billion, according to the release.
A 34% decrease in the crop value of “standard tomatoes” was caused by price drops from the market being “flooded with foreign imports,” according to Fresno County’s vegetable analysis.
Increased yields and price-per-ton paid for garlic boosted the crop value from 12 in 2017 to 5 in 2018.