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San Joaquin is the land of fruits and nuts

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POSTED August 30, 2013 10:19 p.m.

In San Joaquin County, fruit and nut crops are a billion dollar industry.

That’s based on the 79th annual report of agricultural production as provided by Scott Hudson, who is the agricultural commissioner.

He credited increases in almond and grape acreage and yields for accounting for the significant growth of the commodity.

Cherries – SJC’s world renown crop (the county exports over 25.4000 tons of fresh-packed cherries to over 50 countries) – are also coming off a good year, showing increases in both yields and values.

In an average year, one tree can produce 800 cherries.

“The gross value for agricultural production (for 2012) was estimated at another all-time high,” Hudson said in his recent SJC report.

Try $2.8 billion, which was an  increase of 28.19 percent from the 2011 estimated production value of $2.2 billion.

In terms of dollar value, fruit and nut crops, at $1.6 billion, led the way for 2012 thanks to increases in almond and grapes and yields providing for significant growth for each commodity.

Apples are No. 1.

SJC is the largest producer, packer and exporter of apples in the state, with majority grown in Linden and Thornton. Gala, Fuji and Pink Lay are among varieties of apples grown here.

It takes 36 apples to make one gallon of cider.

 Livestock and poultry products – though down 10.2 percent from that of the previous year – still accounted for 15 percent of the value or $423 million.

“Decreases in the number of cattle and milk production have resulted in losses for those commodities,” said Hudson.

He noted that the values shown were estimated based on the most common method of sale for the individual commodity. That’s for the exception of fresh fruits and vegetables, where the value was based on the free-on-board packed price at the shipping point.

“The figures contained in this report were gross values rather than net returns of the growers,” Hudson added.

Asparagus was once the county’s hallmark crop. But, sadly, the acreage on this vegetable has declined in recent years. Making matters worse is worldwide competition coupled with the rising labor costs. Still, asparagus, which is $36 million industry, is primarily grown in the Delta region of the SJC.

Other 2012 values, based on the percentage change from the previous year, include:

•    Field crops were up 7.4 percent or $329 million.

•    Vegetable crops, down 10.1 percent, accounted for $265 million.

•    See crops took a 29.7 dip, managing $3.5 million.

•    Nursery products, at $87 million, were up 13.7 percent.

•    Livestock and poultry, at $97 million, saw a 5 percent decrease.

•    Apiary products brought in $21.6 million thanks to an increase of 56.6 percent.

Hudson’s report was made possible by agricultural biologists and deputies.

For more information on the production report, call the SJC Office of the Agricultural Commissioner at 209-953-6000 or log on to www.co.san-joaquin.ca.us/agcomm/.



Vince Rembulat

209 staff reporter




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