By Sara Wyant
The number and types of organic operations in California continued to grow in recent years, according to the latest “Statistical Review of California Organic Agriculture, 2013-2016,” from the UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center. The number of organic growers in California jumped from 2,089 in 2013 to 3,108 in 2016.
The top 10 organic commodities in terms of sales value in 2016 were cow milk, strawberries, carrots, wine grapes, table grapes, sweet potatoes, almonds, raspberries, salad mix, and chicken eggs, said, said Houston Wilson, director of the new UC Organic Agriculture Institute. “This report highlights the incredible diversity and abundance of organic crops being grown across so many different geographic regions in the state, which reflects California’s leading role in this production sector,” added Wilson.
“This review is critical to understand the changes in the fast-growing organic agriculture sector in the state where more than 50% of the nation’s organic vegetables and fruits are produced,” said Joji Muramoto, UC Cooperative Extension organic production specialist at UC Santa Cruz and coauthor of the report.
In 2016, California organic sales were $3.1 billion with an average of $1 million in sales per farm, but revenue varied widely among farms. For example, San Diego County had the most organic growers (313) in 2016, but Kern County’s 47 organic farmers earned the most in total organic sales: $381 million on 49,727 acres, excluding pasture and rangeland, according to Muramoto.