San Joaquin County this week reported a record $3.24 billion in gross farm income in 2014.
It joins Stanislaus County and several others in the growth in sales, thanks mainly to high prices last year for almonds, walnuts and milk. Farm folks note, however, that 2014 also brought higher production costs, such as labor and water. And milk prices have since plunged.
San Joaquin’s total was up 9 percent over 2013, Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican told the Board of Supervisors. Tonnage was down for major crops as the drought worsened, but stronger prices per ton more than made up the difference.
The top 10 for 2014:
1. Almonds: $578.9 million, up from $467.9 million in 2013
2. Milk: $541.2 million, up from $429.4 million
3. Walnuts: $500 million, up from $442.8 million
4. Grapes: $481.4 million, down from $496.4 million
5. Tomatoes: $151.9 million, up from $102.4 million
6. Hay: $113.2 million, up from $92.5 million
7. Cattle: $97.3 million, up from $76 million
8. Cherries: $86 million, down from $143.6 million
9. Corn silage: $67 million, up from $64.1 million
10. Other silage: $63 million, up from $48.6 million
Silage, by the way, is dairy feed made by chopping whole plants and letting them ferment in air-tight conditions.
Stanislaus County earlier this month reported gross income of $4.4 billion in 2014, up 20 percent from 2013. Merced County has not yet reported.
Tulare County once again is No. 1 for 2014, at $8.08 billion, followed by Kern, Fresno and Monterey. In recent years, they have been immediately followed by Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin.
ELSEWHERE ON THE FARM BEAT:
The Harvest Party at the Pavilion on Nov. 14 will benefit agriculture students at Modesto Junior College.
It will take place in the big Agriculture Center for Education Pavilion on the west campus. A social hour will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m., an auction at 7:30 p.m. and music and dancing after that.
Tickets are $40 per person or $400 to sponsor a table for eight. They must be purchased in advance through the MJC Foundation office, 209-575-6068. To donate auction items or get more information, call Sandy Marks at 209-575-6619.
▪ If your kids still haven’t gotten the message about preventing food poisoning, perhaps some animated characters with screechy voices will do the trick.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a pair of online videos featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks, stars of television long ago and now a series of movies.
They help explain how proper handling, cooking, cleaning and refrigeration can help keep people from getting sick. Catch them at www.foodsafety.gov.