San Joaquin County is the land of milk, wine and nuts.
Those four farm products accounted for almost half of the county’s record $2.238 billion agricultural production in 2011.
The annual crop report released Tuesday by San Joaquin County Agricultural Commission Scott Hudson indicated farm production soared last year for a 14 percent increase over the 2010 level of $1.96 billion.
Out of the 217,200 jobs in San Joaquin County, 24,100 are directly tied to farm production. Thousands more help support agriculture through transportation and other venues.
County agricultural products are shipped to 66 countries from Algeria to Vietnam.
The global reach of local farms underscores the fact the San Joaquin Valley is the single richest agricultural region in the world. Nine of the 10 most productive agricultural counties are in California Statewide, crop production is in excess of $35 billion a year. California produces more than 400 commodities including a dozen crops that are grown nowhere else in the United States including almonds, olives, raisins, and walnuts. California is the nation’s largest producer of dairy products with almost 22 percent of all milk and cream produced in the state
The top five crops in San Joaquin County in 2011 based on value were
• milk at $452,880,000.
• grapes at $286,728,000.
• walnuts at $278,857,000.
• almonds at $187,748,000.
• tomatoes at $107,844,000.
Almonds are predominantly grown around the South County cities of Ripon, Manteca, and Escalon. Overall there are 50,200 acres producing almonds in San Joaquin County. Milk and grapes are the other big South County farm products.
Manteca’s signature crop - pumpkins - brought in $18.8 million in 2011 with 59,000 ton being sold. In the previous year there were 76,100 tons of pumpkins shipped for an overall value of $22.8 million. More than seven out of every 10 pumpkins sold commercially in California comes from the fields around Manteca.
There are 896,000 acres in San Joaquin County of which 737,503 acres are identified as farmland. Some 492,032 of those acres were planted in crops based on the most recent statistics compiled in 2007. That included 453,980 irrigated acres.
The 2007 data indicated there were 3,604 farms in San Joaquin County with an average size of 204 acres.