FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – Fresno County had a record-breaking Agricultural Production year in 2021, but Kern County and Tulare County had an even better year.
Over $8 billion of gross revenue went through Fresno County for the first time ever, but Tulare County made about $400 million more.
The annual crop and livestock report takes around 8-10 months to gather all of the information in it. The report comes out around October for the previous year.
The report shows gross revenue, not net revenue, which takes into account expenditures like labor, and transportation costs. In 2020, Fresno County was the top agricultural producer in the nation.
“Crossing that $8 billion mark for the first time here in Fresno County is obviously something to celebrate,” said Fresno Farm Bureau’s Ryan Jacobsen.
This year was better than Jacobsen’s expectations because of how difficult 2021 was for growers dealing with rising costs and restrictions.
“When you talk about drought and California, the crosshairs for agriculture is here in Fresno County, and that did cost us, not just hundreds, but that could’ve been — obviously it could’ve been half a billion dollars because of the lack of water on the west side,” he said.
The west side is home to a large number of vegetable crops that require a lot of water to grow annually. To use their small supply of water efficiently, several farmers had to remove some permanent crops.
“What’s little different about Tulare County is we’re not positioned on the west side of the valley, and we don’t grow as many of those annuals, those rotational,” said Tricia Blattler with the Tulare County Farm Bureau.
Tulare County saw a staggering $940 million gross increase from 2020 to 2021, narrowly edging out Fresno County for second place.
“We grow a lot more permanent crops, citrus orchards, vineyards that grow grapes,” said Blattler.
Fruit and nut crops were a major part of the increase in revenue, losing 50,000 acres of harvestable land but seeing the value skyrocket to over $4.5 billion.
Because of restrictions, more growers could turn to crops that have bigger yields with smaller plots of land.
“That in the next 20 years is probably the biggest game changer, which is causing people’s footprint to change but their value is hopefully going up,” she said.
“We are still having our issues right now as we’re in 2022. As far as 2021, it did come out better than I was projecting,” said Jacobsen.
Kern County now owns the top spot with an around $600 million increase in gross revenue.