Local Crop Values Up, Despite Economy, Drought

Local growers produced another record-breaking year, with crops valued at more than $1.5 billion dollars, a 1 percent increase compared to 2007 values.

“Thanks to an increase in the value of a few key crops, the total value managed to rise in 2008 even though growers were challenged with tough economic times and severe drought,” said County Agricultural Commissioner Bob Atkins.

Crops that increased in value include bedding plants, avocados, eggs, cut flowers and foliage, and herbs. The top crop continued to be indoor flowering and foliage plants, with a value of more than $319 million, although that is a drop of 1 percent from 2007.

San Diego County has more farms than any other county in the US, with almost 7,000, and the 16th largest agricultural economy. The farms produce more than 200 different commodities due to the wide variety of microclimates.

The crop report highlights the acreage, yield and value of local agricultural production, as well as the diverse programs and services of the Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures. For more information, visit http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/awm/.

Some interesting facts about San Diego County's agriculture industry:

  • The number of farms in San Diego County increased 27 percent between 2002 and 2007, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
  • San Diego has the sixth highest urban population among counties in the US, but our county also has the 16th largest agricultural economy.
  • Sixty-eight percent of San Diego County farms are between one and nine acres. The median size of a farm in the region is only four acres. Agricultural Commissioner Bob Atkins speaks to the media about the 2008 Crop Report.
  • Nearly 27 percent of farms in San Diego County are operated by women.
  • San Diego County ranks first in both California and the nation in the production value of nursery, floriculture and avocados. Statewide, San Diego County is in the top five in the production of avocados, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangerines, floriculture, nursery, eggs, fresh market tomatoes, mushrooms and honey.
  • San Diego County has the largest community of organic growers in the state and nation, with 343 farms growing more than 150 crops.
  • The National Weather Service describes the county’s climate as the most nearly perfect in America, characterized as Mediterranean, with warm winters and cool summers.