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You can’t keep a good farm down
California agriculture sees growth in 2021
The dairy industry, California’s leading commodity in cash receipts, generated $7.6 billion for milk production in 2021, up 4.2 percent from 2020 (Journal file photo).

Despite COVID, supply chain disruptions, destructive winds and atmospheric river storms, California remains an agriculture powerhouse, according to the recently released Agricultural Statics Review for 2021-2022.

The sales value generated by California agriculture increased by 3.6 percent between the 2020 and 2021 crop years. The state’s 69,000 farms and ranches received $51.1 billion for their output, up from $49.4 billion received in 2020.

Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California.

California’s agricultural revenue was led by the dairy industry followed by grapes, almonds, and miscellaneous crops, which includes nursery and greenhouse crops.

The dairy industry, California’s leading commodity in cash receipts, generated $7.6 billion for milk production in 2021, up 4.2 percent from 2020. Milk production increased by 1.3 percent and milk prices received by producers increased from $17.60 per hundredweight of milk sold in 2020 to $18.10 per hundredweight in 2021. As the leading dairy producing state in the country, California produced 18.1 percent of the nation’s milk supply in 2021.

Grape production generated $5.2 billion in cash receipts in 2021, up 16.5 percent from 2020. Production increased by 0.7 percent from 2020, and prices received by growers increased from $785 per ton of grapes in 2020 to $909 per ton in 2021.

Almond cash receipts were $5.0 billion, down 4.2 percent from 2020. Almond production decreased by 6.4 percent from the prior year to 2.9 billion pounds in 2021. The average price per pound of almonds increased from $1.71 in 2020 to $1.76 in 2021.

California remained the leading state in cash farm receipts in 2021 with combined commodities representing 11.8 percent of the U.S. total. California’s leading crops remained fruits, nuts, and vegetables.


In 2021, California’s agricultural exports totaled $22.5 billion in value, representing an increase of 7.0 percent compared to the previous year. California’s agricultural exports have grown substantially over the past 10 years with total export value increasing by 20.1 percent since 2012.

California’s top valued agricultural export commodity continues to be almonds, with more than $4.6 billion in foreign sales in 2021. This figure represents a decrease of 0.2 percent from the previous year. Dairy and dairy products ranked second in export value for the year at $2.5 billion, a 24.6 percent increase from 2020. Pistachios and wine came in third and fourth, respectively, with pistachio exports valued at $2.1 billion and wine exports valued at $1.3 billion in 2021.

The principal 57 export commodities totaled $19.4 billion in export value in 2021 and accounted for 86.1 percent of the total value of California’s agricultural exports. Of the top 57 commodities exported, 30 showed an increase in export value of 5 percent or more from the previous year, while 12 commodities experienced a decrease in export value of 5 percent or more.

California’s share of total U.S. agricultural exports for 2021 was 12.8 percent, down from 14.3 percent in 2020. California’s top 10 export destinations for 2021, in order of value, were: Canada, the European Union, China and Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Together these destinations accounted for 69.3 percent of the total 2021 export value. Of the top 10 export destinations, Mexico experienced the largest year-over-year California Agricultural Exports growth in total export value at 25.1 percent, followed by the United Arab Emirates at 18.9 percent and Taiwan at 14.0 percent.


California leads the nation in the number of organic farms, land in organic production, and organic sales. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service, California accounts for 36 percent of organic sales in the U.S. and organic sales continue to grow in the state. The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) State Organic Program (SOP) is committed to upholding the integrity of products produced and sold in California as organic.

The State Organic Program also works in collaboration with industry leaders, representatives of the California Organic Products Advisory Committee, producers, handlers, processors, USDA Accredited Certifying Agencies (ACAs), trade associations, county agricultural commissioners, and other organic industry stakeholders to continually improve the program.

California organic sales increased 16.4 percent from $12.0 billion in 2020 to $14.0 billion in 2021. Of the $14 billion in sales in California during 2021, 95 percent were from operations certified by an ACA. Total statewide producer, handler, and processor gross sales for the year were $5,255,339,358, $6,705,472,690, and Organics $1,996,361,024, respectively. Total statewide certified producer, handler, and processor gross sales accounted for 99.9 percent, 98 percent, and 99.9 percent, respectively, of all total gross sales in 2021. California organic production site acreage decreased slightly by 2.5 percent from 2,186,551 acres in 2020 to 2,130,157 acres in 2021. Of the 2,186,551 organic acres in 2021, 99 percent were ACA certified. California organic harvested acreage decreased by 13.1 percent year-over-year, from 2,322,763 acres in 2020 to 2,018,014 acres in 2021.