Monterey, CA…The Monterey Ag Commissioner’s Report follows… In accordance with Sections 2272 and 2279 of the California Food and Agricultural Code, I am pleased to announce the release of the 2020 Annual Crop and Livestock Report for the County of Monterey. This report reflects a production gross value of $3,910,135,000 which is a decrease of 11.3% from 2019. The values represented in this report reflect gross value of agricultural commodities grown in Monterey County, and does not consider costs associated with labor, field preparation, planting, irrigating, harvesting, distribution, and other production activities.
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The COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 wildfires depressed the production of most of our crops. The pandemic emergency restrictions resulted in the closure of schools and cancellation of conferences among the many impacts. Agriculture subsequently suffered the loss of much of the foodservice sector. In some instances, ash from the wildfires made some produce unsellable, resulting in crop losses. The following are the major increases and decreases for 2020:
Strawberries moved up to the top crop spot with a value of $922,683,000. This represents a 26% increase from 2019 and is largely attributed to increased acreage and pricing for strawberries. Leaf lettuce dropped to the second most valuable crop at $712,681,000 with a decline of 15.2% or $127,874,000 compared to the previous year. This decrease mostly resulted from lower pricing for leaf lettuce. Head lettuce remained the third most valuable crop at $428,580,000, a decrease of 16.6% or $85,508,000 from the previous year. The lessened value in head lettuce was due to a reduction in acreage and lower average pricing for lettuce. Broccoli maintained its fourth place ranking despite a 25.3% decrease to $341,495,000. Broccoli’s decrease in value compared to 2019 was mostly due to less production.
Vegetable Crops saw a decrease in value of $574,480,000 to $2,524,608,000. Fruit and Nut Crops saw an increase of $96,591,000 to $1,124,737,000. (The Fruits and Nuts category without including Wine Grapes values, saw an increase of $176,696,000 or nearly 21%, to $1,018,746,000 due in part to the increase in value of strawberries.) Wine Grapes saw a significant decrease of 43% or $80,105,000 to reach a total for red and white varietals of $105,991,000 partly due to effects of wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic, a decrease in production and average price per ton. Nursery Crops suffered a decrease of 16.8% or $24,143,000 due to reduced acreage, production, and prices once again favoring an increase in imports and demand for cannabis greenhouse production.
Field Crops increased in value by $927,000 to $25,481,000. Livestock and Poultry remained stable at $110,891,000.
In addition to reporting information on the status of agriculture in the County, this year we are highlighting the resilience of Monterey County Agriculture in the face of the worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19, local wildfires, and how the agricultural industry, health care providers, community groups, County Board of Supervisors, and others collaborated in response to adversity. This report also highlights Monterey County essential agricultural workers for their hard work and perseverance to provide food even when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its worst.
I would also like to express my appreciation to the agricultural industry in providing us with vital information to make this report possible. I am especially appreciative of all the hard work and diligence of our staff and would like to thank Rich Ordonez, Graham Hunting, Yvonne Perez, Shayla Neufeld, Mayra Marrufo, as well as those who assisted in compiling, analyzing and reviewing the information.
Henry S. Gonzales