State produced 257,000 tons of citrus; mandarins, navels drive citrus value at more than $1 billion each


EXETER– California citrus is nearing the $4 billion mark!

Late last month, Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual (CCM) compiled the total value for all citrus in California at $3.84 billion. CCM, which represents about three-quarters of California’s citrus crop, also broke down annual crop reports issued by each individual ag commissioner to determine the acreage and value of each variety, which totaled 324,360 acres producing 257,830 tons of citrus.


Navels continue to hold the number one spot for acreage with 148,179 bearing acres and 150,486 total acres. Even though navels have the most acreage, the total value came in second to Mandarins at about $1.24 billion.


Mandarins, Tangerines, and Tangelos took the number one spot when it came to total value with a value of about $1.35 billion. This was with only 79,445 bearing acres and 814,175 tons of fruit. This category also had the highest non-bearing acreage with 2,990 acres.


Lemons had less bearing acreage than both Mandarins and Navels with only 51,196 acres, but the tonnage came in second at 842,372 tons. The 2017 total value for lemons was about $816.5 million.


Following Lemons’ total value was Valencias with a total value of about $280 million. This value came with about half of the Lemon acreage (26,954 acres) and about half of the tonnage (439,181 tons).


The Grapefruit variety is becoming much more popular in California and has now received its own category in the crop reports. It had the smallest amount of bearing acreage at 9,469 acres and the lowest tonnage at 153,095 tons. The total value for grapefruits came out to about $89.7 million.

While the nearly $4 billion in crop value is amazing, it doesn’t fully represent the impact citrus has on the state’s economy. According to a study commissioned by the Citrus Research Board (CRB) earlier this year, the total economic impact of California’s citrus industry is $7.117 billion between gross domestic product (GDP), payroll and product marketing.

The California citrus industry added $1.695 billion to the state’s gross GDP in 2016, according to the report’s author Bruce Babcock Ph.D., a professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside.

“California citrus is a major contributor to the economic value of the state’s agricultural sector and is much larger than just the value of its sales,” Babcock wrote. “Estimated full-time equivalent California citrus jobs totaled 21,674 in 2016-17, and estimated wages paid by the industry during that same time frame totaled $452 million.”

Babcock added, “The application of management skills and capital equipment to efficiently utilize land and water to produce high-quality citrus also generates upstream and downstream jobs and income that magnify the importance of citrus production beyond its farm value.”

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