Santa Barbara, Calif., (July 7, 2017) – Santa Barbara County Ag Commisioner Cathleen M. Fisher released the Annual Agriculture Crop Report and reported the following as an introduction to the report:
In accordance with the provisions of Sections 2272 and 2279 of the California Food and Agricultural Code, I am pleased to submit the 2016 Santa Barbara County Crop Report. This report summarizes the acreage, production, and gross value of Santa Barbara County’s agricultural commodities.
Santa Barbara County agricultural commodities grossed $1,426,664,069 for 2016, which is a decrease of 3.7% or $52,428,493 from the pre- vious year. Poor water quality and labor issues continue to impact most, if not all, commodity groups. It is always important to note that the figures provided in the annual crop report are gross values and do not represent or reflect net profit or loss experienced by individual growers or by the industry as a whole. Growers do not have control over most input costs, such as fuel, fertilizers, and packaging, nor can they significantly affect market prices. Agriculture is the number one contributor to the county’s economy and through the multiplier effect, contributes a total of $2.8 billion to the local economy and provides 25,370 jobs.
Significant events of the 2016 crop year:
- Strawberries continue to be the number one commodity with an overall gross value of $413,999,130. This represents a reduction of approximately $11 million from 2015. This is the third year in a row that strawberries experienced a reduction in gross value. This is primarily due to a drop in unit price even though strawberry acreage and production volume were at record levels in 2016.
- Raspberry crops had a tough year in 2016. Total gross production value in 2016 was approximately $16 million, which is an alarming $44 million reduction compared to 2015. Harvested acres dropped dramatically as well as overall production along with a drop in unit price.
- Blackberries had a very good year with a gross production value over $23 million, which is an increase of $9,577,429 from 2015. Santa Barbara County’s berries are shipped to many international markets and domestically throughout the country.
- Avocado production rebounded in 2016 compared to 2015. Overall gross production value was approximately $63 million, which is an increase of approximately $16 million. This was mostly due to a significant increase of production per acre and price even though growers were forced to reduce the number of acres in production by stumping trees due to many years of drought. Stumping forces the trees into a dormant state requiring less water.
- Wine grape growers had an outstanding year in 2016 and surpassed broccoli as the number two most valuable commodity in the county. Gross production value increased by approximately $45 million compared to 2015. This was due to a dramatic increase in production and price per ton. Famous for ripe, yet elegant, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the County’s wine industry is also gaining a reputation for Rhone varietals including Syrah and Viognier. Santa Barbara wine grapes now command among the highest prices any- where in the state.
- Santa Barbara County is an oasis of rolling hills, ancient oak trees and cattle ranches. Cattle prices continued to improve in 2016 with an increase of $847,494, which helped to offset the impacts of a historical drought.
- Broccoli gross production value decreased sharply by approximately $15 million compared to 2015. Even though the unit price value was higher than in 2015, harvested acres and production declined. Regardless of the reduction of value in 2016, the quality of broccoli grown in Santa Barbara County maintains a reputation of high quality and nutritional value.
- The cut flower industry experienced a drastic reduction in overall gross production value in 2016 of approximately $30 million. Many factors attribute to the reduction in value of cut flowers in the county however; cut flowers remain as the h overall most valued com- modity at approximately $75 million. Santa Barbara County cut owers are shipped throughout the world and bring beauty into people’s lives and provide many with the ability to express their feelings of love, joy, sympathy, friendship and celebra on.
I wish to express my sincere thanks to our farmers and ranchers, industry representatives and the members of my staff who assisted in the gathering of data for this report. Without their assistance, this report would not be possible.
To view the whole report CLICK HERE