Al­monds are top S.J. crop of 2018

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Wes Bow­ers NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

STOCK­TON — The county’s al­mond crop has re­gained the top spot as the re­gion’s top com­mod­ity, val­ued at $536.4 mil­lion in 2018.

County Agri­cul­tural Com­mis­sioner Tim Pel­i­can pre­sented the 2018 Crop Re­port to the San Joaquin County Su­per­vi­sors Tues­day, not­ing al­monds ex­pe­ri­enced a 47% in­crease in value since 2017.

Pel­i­can said the gross value of over­all agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion for 2018 was nearly $2.6 bil­lion, an in­crease of 2.62 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year.

Grapes, which were the county’s top com­mod­ity in 2017 and 2016, were the sec­ond most val­ued crop in the most re­cent re­port, val­ued at nearly $430.5 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2017 crop re­port, grapes were val­ued at $395.5 mil­lion, while al­monds were val­ued at $362.7 mil­lion as the third great­est com­mod­ity for the county.

Milk rounded out the top three in county com­modi­ties in 2018 with a value of $360.35 mil­lion. In 2017, milk was the county’s sec­ond com­mod­ity with a value of $387.4 mil­lion.

While al­monds were val­ued at the high­est com­mod­ity in the county, api­ary prod­ucts from bees and honey, as well as crops pol­li­nated by bees, had the largest crop in­crease in 2018, with a to­tal value of $32.9 mil­lion. Pel­i­can said that was a 23.97 in­crease from 2017.

“A lot of that is due to the in­crease in the num­ber of acres that are in pro­duc­tion now,” he said. “And that calls for that many more bee­hives to come into the county.”

Crops pol­li­nated by the api­ary in­dus­try in­clude ap­ples, blue­ber­ries, cher­ries, cu­cum­ber, pump­kin veg­etable seed and wa­ter­melon, Pel­i­can said.

Live­stock and poul­try prod­ucts in­creased by 8.69 per­cent with a value of $467.3 mil­lion due to a large in­crease in egg pro­duc­tion and price per dozen, he said.

Some crops did not fare so well in 2018, as Pel­i­can said veg­eta­bles saw a 3.92 per­cent de­crease in value.

Cher­ries were also hit hard, val­ued at $89.7 mil­lion, a 51 per­cent de­crease from 2017, when they were val­ued at $184.6 mil­lion.

“You can see that was a huge de­crease form the pre­vi­ous year. We had a freeze and rain event last spring, dur­ing bloom, which caused a large loss.”

Pel­i­can noted in his re­port to su­per­vi­sors the STEM meth­ods farm­ers are us­ing to al­low for faster and more ef­fi­cient pro­duc­tion of food prod­ucts to sup­ply a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Th­ese STEM meth­ods -which stand for sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics — In­clude

the use of drones, vari­able rate ir­ri­ga­tion and op­ti­cal sort­ing, among oth­ers, he said.

“As the global pop­u­la­tion in­creases by 82 mil­lion peo­ple per year, the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try needs to keep pace and in­crease pro­fi­ciency while it strives to con­tinue feed­ing the world,” Pel­i­can said in a me­dia state­ment fol­low­ing Tues­day’s meet­ing.

“The use of th­ese STEM tech­nolo­gies is help­ing grow­ers meet global de­mands, ef­fi­ciently ship our prod­ucts to 99 coun­tries world­wide and in­vent more ef­fec­tive ways to pro­duce com­modi­ties and use more sus­tain­able prac­tices to pro­tect our fi­nite re­sources,” he said.

In the same me­dia state­ment, Board chair­man Miguel Vil­la­pudua said the re­port demon­strates the in­no­va­tive prac­tices farm­ers are us­ing to pro­duce their crops.

“We are so proud of our home-grown tal­ent who are trans­form­ing the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try and help­ing com­mu­ni­ties grow and thrive lo­cally, statewide, na­tion­ally, and glob­ally,” he said.

The full 2018 Crop Re­port can be viewed on­line at

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