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California Boasts Unique and Powerful Agricultural Industry

Posted by Vic Tolomeo, Pacific Region Director, National Agricultural Statistics Service in Conservation
Feb 21, 2017
California’s moderate climate allow for year round production of many crops, making agriculture in the Golden State important for the U.S. and the world.  Check back next week for another state spotlight from the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
California’s moderate climate allow for year round production of many crops, making agriculture in the Golden State important for the U.S. and the world. Check back next week for another state spotlight from the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

The Census of Agriculture is the most complete account of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Every Thursday USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will highlight new Census data and the power of the information to shape the future of American agriculture.

From entertainment to high-tech to world-class wine, California’s diverse industries dazzle and delight people all over the world, and our agricultural industry is no exception. The Census of Agriculture results are in and the numbers confirm what many have always known – agriculture shines bright in The Golden State. California is the agricultural powerhouse in the U.S., generating over $42.6 billion in market value of agricultural products sold. With over 25.6 million acres of land dedicated to a diversified agricultural production, it is no surprise California leads the nation.

Diversity in all things is a proud hallmark of our state, and it lends its strength to our agriculture. California is the sole producer of an amazing array of commodities eaten by people all over the world. Enjoy pomegranate juice? Almost 99 percent of all pomegranates produced in the U.S. come from California. Love almonds? Very nearly 100 percent of all almonds produced in the U.S. are grown in California. Gotta have olives?  Close to 98 percent of all olives grown in the U.S. are from California. Need artichokes?  It is the California state vegetable, and as you might have guessed, almost all of the artichokes grown in the U.S. are grown in California. California also has most if not all of the dates, figs, kiwifruit, pistachios, raisins, sweet rice and walnuts in the country.

California farmers are as diverse as our population. Our state has the largest number of Asian farmers in the U.S., and almost 12 percent of farmers in California are of ethnically Spanish, Hispanic or Latino Origin. The number of women who farm in California totals over 40,000, and the majority of women who farm here have been doing so for 10 years or more.

California boasts a unique agricultural tradition, and yet the state mirrors the national trend in some farm characteristics. For example, the average size of a California farm has increased and the total number of farms decreased. This trend has not impeded value of sales for either the U.S. or the state. In California, the value of agricultural products sold jumped 26 percent from 2007 to 2012. In the U.S., the value of agricultural products sold increased about 33 percent in that same time period.

California continues to lead in agriculture through innovation and diversified production. Learn more about The Golden State’s amazing farms and ranches at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

Category/Topic: Conservation

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Comments

Jacob Smith
Feb 06, 2015

I would be curious to see how that number has changed 2012-2014, what with the historic drought that California has been enduring.

Ben Weaver
Feb 09, 2015

@Jacob - thanks for asking. The next total value of production numbers will be published with the 2017 Census of Agriculture, and will provide insight into the long-term trends for agricultural yields and farming overall. For California, the cash receipts value for 2013 increased from 2012. Values for crop cash receipts for each state are obtained from NASS sources, the annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and Farm Service Agency Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) loan data. Total cash receipts by commodity are released annually by USDA for each state. We will know more about the 2014 results when they are published in August 2015.

Cici Koenig
Mar 11, 2015

Is it possible that the cash receipts were up because people are paying more _because_ of the drought or is it because there is actually more sales.