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Crops up in 2010

Milk products top commodity, despite high feed prices

POSTED August 2, 2011 10:42 p.m.

After a rough 2009, local farmers enjoyed a bounce-back year with a gross agricultural farm gate increase of nearly $260 million for an all-time record for total income of nearly $2.57 billion in 2010, according to the Stanislaus County Agricultural Crop Report.

Activities associated with agricultural processing increased the economic value by a 4.5 multiplier — which pencils out to $11 billion to the Stanislaus County economy.

“Agriculture is the number one economy in the county and in the state, especially when you add in all the people who have jobs after a crop leaves the farm,” said Agricultural Commissioner Gary Caseri.

Numerous factors led to the all-time record income in 2010. Milk products, the county’s top commodity rebounded as prices increased and the damage to dairies in the last few years stabilized, although feed prices remain high.

In 2010 the total milk product value increased to $598.8 million, up from a 2009 value of $462.3 million.

Milk and almond exports increased in 2010 largely because Asian and Indian markets continued to value high protein diets, increasing demand from local dairies and almond farmers. Last year 100 different Stanislaus County agricultural products were exported to 85 countries.

“There are a lot of factors, you could look at each crop and say what led to an increase in value, but in 2010 we had a good weather year and that led to an increase in production per acre,” said Caseri.

Almonds were the second most valued commodity in the county with a total value of just under $390.5 million, down from $4.55 million in 2009.  This year the United States Department of Agriculture has predicted that the almond harvest will reach an all-time record of 1.95 million meat pounds.

“This should shoot almonds back up and it could put them over milk if they start to fall in value again. It would take a banner year by almonds though,” said Caseri.

In 2009 milk edged out almonds for the number one spot with $4.62 million compared to $4.55 million for almonds.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail jmccorkell@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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