The value of San Mateo County’s agricultural production dropped $20 million since last year due in part to the lack of migrant farm workers, according to a new crop report.
The decline is primarily due to big losses in the indoor floral and nursery crops sector, which dropped $23.8 million from last year to $75.3 million, according to the 2015 Agricultural Crop Report for San Mateo County.
The shrinking migrant workforce led to the drop in production for nurseries on the coast, according to the report.
The estimated value of all crops in the county is $132 million, a decline of $19.7 million since 2014, according to the report.
“Federal immigration policy and economics have influenced the availability of migrant farm labor in all agricultural regions and San Mateo County, having a smaller, more isolated industry, is particularly vulnerable,” Agricultural Commissioner Fred Crowder wrote as a preface to the report.
Reductions were also reported for forest products, outdoor floral and nursery crops along with wine grapes.
The commodity values for individual crops, however, were primarily up in 2015.
But while the county’s agricultural industries were challenged by factors beyond their control — labor, rising operational costs and higher commodity values — increases in planted acreage and yields boosted the vegetable crop commodity group by more than $5.8 million, according to the report.
Brussels sprouts remain the top crop in San Mateo County with a $15.2 million value — an individual increase of 21.6 percent — followed by leeks at $2.8 million and fava beans at $1.9 million in value.
Though statewide drought conditions persisted through a fifth year, there hasn’t yet been a significant impact on county crop production as many producers have implemented creative, though inconvenient, accommodations to irrigate and maintain production levels, according to the report.
The number of cattle continued to drop due to the ongoing statewide drought but the overall estimate value of livestock was actually up $187,000 over 2014, to $2.4 million.
Go to agwm.smcgov.org/agricultural-crop-report to view the county’s crop reports.