San Joaquin County saw a 5% increase in agricultural production last year, grossing nearly $3.2 billion in 2021, according to its annual crop report.
The report, which was presented by the San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican last week, says that multiple products saw “substantial gains” despite “some trying circumstances.” California’s ongoing drought and pandemic-related supply chain issues have impacted many farmers’ ability to grow and sell products.
Fruit and nuts represented the highest value crops in 2021, raising over $1.7 billion combined.
Pelican said almonds are the county’s “top commodity” — grossing over $450 million, more than any other singular crop produced in the county — in part due to a record-breaking harvest and an expanded area where the crop is being grown.
He noted that farmers located in the southern portion of San Joaquin County have started to divert what water supplies are available to their permanent crops, like almond orchards. That means more row crops, like corn, potatoes and pumpkins, are being planted in the northern portion of the county, he said.
“Some of the areas where [almonds are] grown further south, they have even less water than we do, so as they cut those row crops back to protect their permanent crops, they tend to move up here where there’s more water,” Pelican said.
County cherry production saw a 71% increase in production in 2021, one of the largest increases reported for the year. Pelican said cherry production is extremely dependent upon the year’s wind, rain and temperature.
“Cherries are always like that, either it’s a freeze or it rains during harvest, something like that, to get a really good year everything has to align in terms of weather,” he said.
County-wide production of apiary products, like honey and pollen, also increased by 11%, grossing over $54 million, according to the report.
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