Friday, July 10, 2009

County crop revenues fall slightly while yield increase

County crop revenues fall slightly while yield increases
4:21 PM
By Chris Bone
Santa Clara County farmers produced near $248 million worth of crops last year - a 2.7 percent drop from 2007, according to a report from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Nursery crops again led the pack in 2008, with more $87.3 million in revenue, according to the report. This was a slight decrease from 2007, in which the crops totaled $87.8 million in 2007. However, with depressed real estate values, the drop in value could have been more precipitous.

Mushrooms were the second most valuable crop, bringing in nearly $58 million - up from $57.7 million in 2007, according to the report. The report credits increased yields and acreage as an offset against the slight decline in mushroom prices.

Bell peppers were the third most valuable crop, with $15.5 million in revenue, according to the report. The average pepper yield also jumped from 27.9 tons per acre in 2007 to 32.5 tons per acre last year.

Including the above crops, a total of 25 fruits, vegetables and field crops yielded more than $1 million, according to the report. Cherries alone rose from $6.5 million in 2007 to more than $8 million, and garlic acreage went from 148 acres in 2007 to 297 last year. The county's total garlic output, fueled primarily by Christopher Ranch, topped 290 acres and totaled more than $1 million.

Vegetable yield dropped from $130 million in 2007 to $123 million in 2007 while flowers, timber and hay all saw increase in revenues, according to the report. Flowers stayed about the same, and fruits and nuts jumped from about $14 million to $16 million in revenues, but bushberries and strawberries fell from $2.7 million to $1.7 million. Livestock revenue also dropped from $8.4 million to $6.7 million.

Total farming acreage in the county fell from about 349,000 in 1958 to less than 230,000 last year.

"I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the continuing cooperation of all individuals, growers, and agencies who contributed the information necessary to prepare this report," California Agricultural Commissioner Greg Van Wassenhove said in a statement. "I wish to thank my staff and, in particular, acknowledge the efforts of Agricultural Biologists Lori Oleson and Nancy Barrera."

Chris Bone
Chris Bone covers City Hall for The Dispatch. Reach him at 847-7109 or e-mail him at

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