The dairy industry is still number one when it comes to farm commodities in California. But almonds are gaining ground. A new University of California report finds the state's almond industry adds $11 billion to the gross-state-product.
The study is by UC's Agricultural Issues Center. The center's director is UC Davis Agricultural Economics Professor Daniel Sumner. He says almonds also help create 104,000 jobs, mostly in the Central Valley.
"Probably most of the production is in the San Joaquin," says Sumner, "but there's substantial production in the Sacramento Valley and the processing is also in this case right here in the Central Valley so small, large and in-between there's lots of hullers and shellers scattered throughout the valley, hundreds of them."
Sumner says most of those jobs are in industries that sell products to farms and processors like tractor parts and machinery.
"Or they're jobs that are created through the income that comes to people that work in the almond industry," says Sumner. "So whether it's farmers or factory employees, those people go back into their communities and buy things and pay taxes and all of that generates economic activity in the state."
Farmers say almonds have become a crop of choice in California because the state is one of the only places in the world where they grow well.
The study was released today to coincide with the start of a three-day almond industry conference at the Sacramento Convention Center.