Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

California farm production declines in 2015 – several factors cited

The USDA’s Economic Research Service  (ERS) has compiled and released preliminary agricultural production statistics for 2015 in California.  This first set of data indicates that production value fell by $9.5 billion, or nearly 17 percent compared to 2014, to a total of $47,071,513,000. California remains the leading agricultural state in the nation.

These numbers certainly reflect drought impacts in 2015, which led to the fallowing of 540,000 acres. But the data also reflects changes in currency exchange rates as well as global supply and demand, including a burgeoning milk supply and a slowdown in export demand. Dairy production value fell by more than $3 billion in 2015, and the value of nut production declined considerably across the board.

California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities. Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. These were the state’s top-ten commodities in 2015:

  • Milk — $6.29 billion
  • Almonds — $5.33 billion
  • Grapes — $4.95 billion
  • Cattle, Calves — $3.39 billion
  • Lettuce – 2.25 billion
  • Strawberries — $1.86 billion
  • Tomatoes — $1.71 billion
  • Poultry/Eggs – $1.7 billion
  • Walnuts – $977 million
  • Hay — $ 945 million

California agricultural statistics derive primarily from USDA reports. The California Department of Food and Agriculture also publishes statistics related to California dairy production and, in cooperation with the University of California at Davis, statistics for California agricultural exports. For most timely research into California dairy statistics, please see our dairy pages under Division of Marketing Services. For county-level reporting please see the CDFA County Liaison site.

To reiterate, the ERS production figures for 2015 are preliminary numbers. It is customary for the USDA to revise these figures over a period of several months following the initial release.  Accordingly the figures on the report may change several times between now and early 2017.





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