The county’s agricultural production jumped 2.2 percent in 2012 in no small part due to a climate that favored local wine grape crops and the expansion of residents keeping bees and chickens.
The total gross value was $140,032,000 which, with the exception of a $730,00 drop in forest products, represented an increase across the board for commodities. The total is a sharp turnaround from last year’s roundup which showed that production value had dropped nearly 5 percent over the 2010 value of $143.7 million. Prior to 2009, the county posted an 8.3 increase in value.
In 2012, indoor grown floral and nursery crops showed the smallest jump of 1.8 percent while their outdoor counterparts jumped 3.7 percent over the previous year. The modest gains came even as nursery operations struggled to find economic stability, Agricultural Commissioner Fred Crowder wrote in the introduction of the county’s annual agricultural crop report.
Even with the nurseries’ financial challenges, flowering potted plants, ornamental stock and cut flowers remain in the county’s top 10 of million-dollar crops. Joining them were Brussels sprouts, forest products, cattle and calves, leeks and livestock products like cheese, eggs and wool.
A peek at the top 10 agricultural commodities from 1962 included in the report show that some things haven’t changed that much. Carnations held the top spot followed by Brussels sprouts and flowering potted plants. Plants — and specifically chrysanthemums and roses — took up several of the other spots while miscellaneous vegetables, milk and cattle and calves rounded out the list.
Crowder will formally present this 2012 report to the Board of Supervisors at its Sept. 10 meeting.
Field crops posted the biggest gain at $933,000 which is a 22 percent higher value than 2011. Heightened interest in backyard beekeeping — contributing honey and beeswax — and chicken egg producers helped the total value of livestock products and apiary post a 12.9 percent improvement.
Organic farming is also on the rise in San Mateo County with the number of farms, acreage and value continuing to increase in 2012. In 2010, the county had 15 farms with 220 production acres but the number steadily rose until 2012 which reported 18 farms with 410 acres. Based on those farms certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and registered with the state, the estimated gross value last year was $2,769,000.
[O]rganic producers have found a niche in the local agricultural community, Crowder wrote in the report.
The Board of Supervisors meets 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10 in Board Chambers, 400 County Government Center, Redwood City.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102