When one thinks about California they think of beaches, surfing, and Hollywood (that is, if you don’t live here). My senior year of high school on the plane on the way to Louisville, KY for the National FFA Convention we were warned that the rest of the country believes that we all live on the beach and we all surf to school. It was true! People from all over the country read the back of our jackets and made a comment about us living on the beach or how often we surf or asked us why were we even in FFA since there are no farms in California. I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to surf, don’t live on the beach, and am surrounded by farms. So, let’s set the record straight . . .
California is the national’s largest producer and exporter of agriculture products. California is No. 1 in agricultural cash receipts and has been for more than 60 years.
California’s agriculture is diverse. There are over 400 commodities produced in California. There are many commodities that are solely produced in California (solely means 99% or more) including raisins, almonds, artichokes, walnuts, pistachios, and many more.
California farmers are effective. We are the largest producer of agriculture products yet we use only 4 percent of the nation’s farmland. How is that even possible? With the best soil and mostly (I say this because this year’s weather has been weird) ideal weather, farmers are able to produce more using less. Since most of California does not have a harsh winter the growing season is longer than parts of the country that do endure a harsh winter. While California farmers are planting and tending their crops many parts of the country are still waiting for the snow to melt.
I am proud to be a Californian and I am proud to be an agriculturalist.
To read more on this topic go to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s website. To read the Agriculture Statistical Review go here (it has some great tables and lots more information). I like visuals, so also go here. And if you want a quick read take a look at the Ag Highlights Brochure!
If you have anything to add, please leave it in a comment below!
AND, if you are not Californian please tell me about your state's agriculture in the comments!