So many in California do not recognize the contributions agriculture makes to the state’s economy, the nation’s economy, or the world’s economy. Alone, the great Central Valley of California is one of the most productive agricultural regions IN THE WORLD. How sad that so much of it is rolling under the miles of asphalt, highways, and homes–construction that doesn’t seem to stop! Over 400 miles long, the valley boasts rich soil that grows virtually anything.
Here are some facts you may not know…..check them out:
California’s LARGEST industry is agriculture, which includes fruit, vegetables, dairy, and wine.
The agribusiness is more than TWICE the size of the state’s second industry, aerospace. Its revenue topped $26 BILLION in 2004.
If California were a COUNTRY, it would rank 6th in the world in agricultural production. In 2003, cash receipts topped $27 BILLION, followed by Texas with $15.3 billion.
Cattle and calves are #6 in the top 20 agricultural commodities produced in California. Ranchers own and/or manage approximately 38 million acres of privately and publicly owned rangelands in California and most of these ranches are family owned and operated; many have been in the same family for four or five generations. In California, there are approximately 14,000 beef cattle operations.
In addition, the beef industry is the #1 agricultural industry in the US and constitutes the largest segment of production. Receipts totalled $98.3 BILLION in 2003, which translates to 1.4 MILLION jobs across the nation (directly associated with beef production).
California is the leading milk-producing state in the union; in 2005, it produced over 37 BILLION pounds. Yet, there are fewer than 3000 dairy farms in the state.
California is the #2 cheese-producing state in the union, accounting for about 25% of the cheese produced in the nation. In 2005, that accounted for 2.14 BILLION pounds of cheese! Almost 50% of California’s cow’s milk goes into cheese making.
California produces more than HALF of the country’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It is the #1 DAIRY state, the #2 COTTON state, and produces 50% of the nation’s flowers and nursery products.
Virtually all the artichokes in the nation are grown in California; 75% of those are grown in Monterey County. Check out the annual Castroville Artichoke Festival each May, now in its 48th year!
The US is the WORLD’S #1 producer of almonds, passing up Spain in 1977, and almost all of America’s almond orchards are in California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.
Almost 95% of the dates produced in the US are grown in the Coachella Valley.
The center of the fig-growing industry is centered in Fresno, California, and it represents 20% of the world’s figs.
California is the only state in the union to produce olives commercially. Black olives are the most common variety.
California is also the only state to raise pomegranates.
California produces almost 100% of the nation’s PRUNES (actually plums that have been dried), and this equals to about 70$ of the WORLD’S prune production.
Raisins are raised almost exclusively in and around Fresno, California, and the US is the WORLD’S #1 producer of raisins.
California also produces 99% of the nation’s commercially-grown English walnuts.