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California reaches new high in farm revenues for 2010

POSTED August 30, 2011 7:43 p.m.

Not only was 2010 a banner year for Stanislaus County agriculture — with a farm gate increase of $260 million for an all-time record total income of nearly $2.57 billion — but the entire state also saw new highs in agricultural income.

California agriculture revenues increased 9 percent for 2010 from the revised 2009 income level of $34.6 billion, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and Economic Research Service. The state’s 81,700 farms and ranches received a record high $37.5 billion for their output last year. California’s cash receipts represented 11.9 percent of the U.S. total for 2010.

“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 Stanislaus County Agricultural Commissioner Gary Caseri.

California’s increase in revenue was led by the dairy sector, which was also reflected in Stanislaus County. Dairy producers received $5.93 billion for their milk production in 2010, up 31 percent from 2009, but down 14 percent from 2008. Herd size decreased 2 percent from 2009. Milk production from the state’s dairy farms increased 2 percent. Milk prices received by producers rose from $11.49 per hundred pounds of milk sold in 2009 to $14.69 in 2010.

California produced 20.9 percent of the nation’s milk supply last year. The beginning of 2010 saw a dip in milk price for January, February and March. Milk prices began a slow recovery from April through October, before slipping in November and December. The higher price of milk was often offset by higher feed costs, which resulted in California dairies struggling to turn a profit in 2010.

Eleven California products exceeded $1 billion in receipts for 2010, up from eight products in 2009. Eight of the 11 commodities registered an increase in value. The commodity with the largest percentage increase was pistachios, at a 95 percent increase in value, making 2010 the first year pistachios have topped $1 billion. The value of walnuts also surpassed $1 billion for the first time.

Pistachios and walnuts joined almonds, marking the first time more than one nut crop value exceeded $1 billion. The year was a banner year for nut crops, with almonds, pistachios and walnuts all setting records for production. Final grower returns could change the sales values for the commodities, resulting in an updated dollar amount in next year’s report.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail khacker@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.

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