Tulare County’s total gross production crop value for 2011 is a record$5,629,396,000. This represents an increase of $765,691,000, or 16% above 2010’s value of $4,863,705,000.
Milk continues to be the leading agricultural commodity in Tulare County with a total gross value of $2,056,043,000, an increase of 28% over last year’s total gross value.
Milk represents 37% of the total crop and livestock value for 2011. Milk prices continued to rebound in 2011, as the overall economy made slow improvement. Total milk production in Tulare County remained relatively stable.
“What that does not measure is the high cost of production with feed costs so high” says ag commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita. Those high costs helped 17 county dairies quit last year.
Livestock and Poultry’s gross value of $624,339,000 represents an increase of 10% above 2010.
Fruit and Nut commodities were valued at $2,201,584,000, representing an increase of 5%. Modest price gains accounted for most of the increased value. The total value of all Field Crops was $615,898,000 for 2011, an increase of 34% from the previous year.
Local demand for dairy support commodities continues to keep prices up in this sector.
Citrus farmer continue to plant new acreage with non-bearing citrus trees totaling 3067 acres. Tangerine acreage is nearly as large as valencia acreage in the county, a big change from a decade ago.
Pistachio farmers have planted the biggest number of new trees with non-bearing acreage at 3600 acres. The almond crop increased from $98 million in 2010 to $128 million in 2011.
“The biggest change is the conversion of more field crop land to permanent plantings” says Kinoshita.
Nursery Products were valued at $65,717,000 representing a increase of 2% from 2010. This minor increase is a reflection of the continuing uncertainties in both the housing and agricultural markets. Vegetable Crops were valued at $19,506,000 in 2011, representing a 4% decline. Harvested vegetable acreage continues to decline in the county.
The number of pigs raised in Tulare County has gone up from 113,00 head in 2010 to 142,000 in 2011.
Korea is the top export partner to Tulare County but ag commissioner Kinoshita notes the relationship has not always bee so cozy.” They should be taking about 6 million cartons of fruit but they have been coming back” from 2009 when they pushed for tougher regulations that limited shipments to about half that.
Tulare County’s agricultural strength is based on the diversity of the crops produced. The 2011 report covers more than 120 different commodities, forty-three of which have a gross value in excess of $1,000,000. Although individual commodities may experience difficulties from year to year, Tulare County continues to produce high-quality crops that provide food and fiber to more than 85 countries throughout the world.