The Calaveras County Department of Food and Agriculture has released the Crop Production Report for 2020, with most crop and agricultural commodities showing decreased production yield and values, some by as much as 48%.
The opening letter from Agricultural Commissioner Jessica Fowler addresses crop production in 2020 by applauding the agricultural industry’s efforts during the pandemic.
Fowler writes, “As with the rest of the nation, our agricultural industry strived to provide food for our communities through the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank them for their heroic efforts.”
The commissioner’s letter also states that despite the flooded wine grape market in 2019, “some local vineyards left fruit on the vine due to uncertainties of wildfire smoke in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on farm labor availability and industry sales.”
According to the report, wine grape crops suffered a 48% decrease from approximate values of $4.5 million in 2019 to $2.3 million in 2020.
While other industries reported decreased values, cattle and calves were the leading commodities, with an increase of 6% from 2019’s values of $7.2 million to almost $7.7 million in 2020.
The report states that “overall livestock values remained flat in 2020 due to lower livestock numbers harvested being offset by increased cattle values; reflecting the strong prices in the local beef market.”
Sheep and lamb values significantly decreased from around $68,000 in 2019 to nearly $35,000 in 2020.
Values for poultry production were down from $3.1 million in 2019 to $2.7 million in 2020.
Livestock and poultry products, including wool, mohair, and eggs were also down in value, from $45,000 to just $6,800.
The total livestock value for 2020 was $10.4 million while 2019 was slightly higher at $10.6 million.
The report noted a 24% decrease in gross crop values, at roughly $22 million, whereas 2019’s gross crop value was $28.5 million.
Nursery products had a slight increase, as did walnuts, while almonds had a drop in value per ton from $5,000 in 2019 to just under $2,000 in 2020. The value of olives and olive oil increased by more than half, while miscellaneous fruit and nut crops took a dive from $134,000 in 2019 to a mere $42,000 in 2020.
Organic operations also reported increases, with organic grapes leading followed by organic nut production, with total values of $410,000 versus 2019’s $370,000.
Vegetable products reported significant decreases, from $130,000 to just under $12,000.
Apiary (bee yard) values were down as well, at $65,000 in 2020 from $274,000 in 2019.
The total value of timber in 2020 was about $4 million while it was reported as $6.4 million in 2019.
Leading agricultural commodities in order of value were cattle and calves, timber, poultry, field crops, wine grapes, walnuts, nursery products, apiary, almonds, sheep and lambs, and miscellaneous crops which include fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Total values for agricultural commodities for the year were $21.8 million, versus $28.5 million in 2019.