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SJ County farm crops tops $2B for 2nd year

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POSTED September 22, 2009 4:15 a.m.

Farming continues to be San Joaquin County’s $2 billion baby.

The county’s agriculture production for 2008 was a record $2,129,725,000 despite California being in its second year of the current three-year drought.

It reflects a 6 percent increase from the 2007 value of $2,005,793,000.

Milk continues to lead all San Joaquin County agricultural commodities generating $413 million in production during 2008. That is down $33 million from 2007 levels.

Highlights of the 2008 crop report include:
•an all-time high walnut crop pushed walnuts from the No. 5 spot to No. 3 countywide.
•grapes retained the No. 2 position in value while higher prices countered a drop in crop yield.
•nursery stock was especially hard hit in 2008 with a large decline in housing starts and a general economic down-turn led to almost a 38 percent decrease in value from 2007.
•olives are an emerging factor in San Joaquin agriculture as young orchards are maturing to the point they are now counted separately in the crop report.
•fruit, nut, field, vegetable, and seed crops, as well as livestock all posted gains over 2007 levels.

University of California studies indicate that each primary dollar in crop production generates another $3of impacts on the county economy. That means the 2008 farm production gave the county economy a $6.3 billion shot in the arm.

Agriculture has been the county’s No. 1 industry since the county was created during the Gold Rush. The first county ag report put together in 1934 put the value of farm production at $29.1 million.

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