The 2020 crop and livestock report shows gross production value down 4.9% from 2019, fruit and nut value down 15.9% but milk makes up 26.1% of the county’s total crop and livestock value for 2020
TULARE COUNTY – Tulare County Ag Commissioner Tom Tucker took the podium at the Oct. 5 board of supervisors meeting to brief the board on last year’s yield.
“This is a time where we can take a look at the numbers that show the work and the effort that has gone on by our producers, our growers, our ranchers and so many others throughout the county,” Tucker said. “This value just multiplies itself throughout the community with its employees and processors, it’s wonderful to see here in Tulare County.”
Tulare County’s total gross production value for 2020 was $7.14 billion, a 4.9% decrease from the year prior. Gross production peaked in the county in 2015 at $8.09 billion, when the county led the nation in ag production. Of the neighboring counties that have released their yearly ag reports, Kern County surpassed Tulare County in 2020 gross production value at $7.67 billion.
Milk continues to be the leading agricultural commodity in Tulare county, with a gross value of $1.86 billion and alone represents 26.1% of the total crop and livestock value for 2020.
Though fruits and nuts make up the majority of the county’s ag production value at 53.67%, $3.83 billion, 2020 marks the first time in five years that their gross production value has dropped, and it fell to its lowest value since 2016.
Despite the dip categorically, Tulare County navel and valencia oranges eclipsed $1 billion in value for the first time in 2020, with the Republic of Korea being by far the largest buyer of Tulare County citrus exports at 45%.
County Supervisor Dennis Townsend said he tells his constituents Tulare County feeds the country and the world, and asked Tucker if the county truly exports to all 50 states in America.
“People want what California grows,” Tucker said. “We have an ideal climate, our growers do a fantastic job with so many different commodities—I don’t know why that wouldn’t be the case.”
Tulare County is also a major exporter to the world. Mexico buys 24% of the county’s grapes, China buys 23% of the pistachios and 76.3% of the plums and India buys 28% of the almonds. Tulare County exports to 95 countries, with The Republic of Korea, China and Japan being top buyers.
Supervisor Pete Vander Poel said as the county sees more planted acres of various crops and their values coming in at or lower than ten years ago, it shows the fluctuation in pricing, but also the resiliency of farmers and agriculture in Tulare County.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with ground coming out of production as SGMA is further and further implemented in Tulare County, but I also believe, too, that [SGMA] is going to affect prices,” Van Der Pool said. “Once there’s less water available or water becomes more expensive, prices are going to be going up to compensate for that. Supply and demand, and as the global population continues to grow and we feed the world out of Tulare County, I do think agriculture is here to stay, it’s just going to continue to have to be even more resilient.”
To read the full report, go to agcomm.co.tulare.ca.us/ag/index.cfm/standards-and-quarantine/crop-reports1/crop-reports-2011-2020/2020-crop-and-livestock-report.