The county’s agricultural production jumped 2.2 percent the last year, thanks in large part to a larger haul of Brussels sprouts and fava beans, but wasn’t immune to the state water shortage.
Certified farmers’ markets and direct marketing by honey and egg producers also kept livestock and apiary, or bee, products on an upward climb by 4.8 percent but nursery and floral industries fell as several producers shuttered in 2013. Those that didn’t close their doors held steady through the year, according to the 2013 Agricultural Crop Report for San Mateo County.
This annual snapshot of San Mateo County’s crop production will be delivered to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday by Agricultural Commissioner Fred Crowder.
The report looks at the values of the goods but also calculated that county agriculture contributes $216 million to the local economy and provides 4,708 jobs. The impact is particularly important on the coast which has only 12.5 percent of the population but is responsible for 94.1 percent of the agricultural economy.
While the overall production showed a gross value of $143,147,000, Crowder’s report also noted that livestock and field crops took a hit from the drought. Livestock showed a 2.3 percent loss but Crowder noted that the figure doesn’t wholly reflect that some producers culled their herds, or removed them from breeding stock, because of the water scarcity. The drought also caused field crops to pose a 17 percent decrease in gross value to $776,000. Despite the struggles, Crowder wrote in his report that the county’s agriculture producers “remain resilient” due to adaptations and resourcefulness.
As with most years, Brussels sprouts remain a staple of the county’s agriculture production, coming in third on its list of million-dollar crops. Only flowering and foliage potted plants and ornamental nursery stock brought in more revenue. Other top crops included cut indoor and outdoor flowers, forest products, fava beans, cattle and calves, leeks and wine grapes.
Although cut flowers remain on the top list, their value decreased 5.7 percent to $21.7 million and indoor floral and nurse crops lost 2.4 percent. Last year, they barely eked out a minor increase of 1.8 percent for the indoor and 3.7 percent by the outdoor in the midst of economic instability in the industry.
On the positive side, favorable weather conditions also meant for greater wine grape yields and fruit and nut crops jumped 35 percent to a value of $2.7 million.
Last year, the reported crop value was $140,032,000.
The report also showed that some things don’t change that much in San Mateo County. Fifty years ago in 1963, the top 10 agricultural commodities here included many of the same crops leading the pack now. Carnations held the top spot with $2.31 million in value followed by Brussels sprouts, flowering potted plants, miscellaneous vegetables, ornamental flowers, milk, cattle, chrysanthemums and strawflowers rounding out the list.
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