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Friday, August 4, 2017

California's Biggest Ag Export?

It's not wine.

The state's almond crop has doubled in size since 2000 and produces over 80% of the world's almonds. There are now one million acres planted. That's bigger than the state of Rhode Island dedicated to almonds. It's a nearly $5 billion industry that requires honey bees for pollination and lots of water. The water is the controversial part after five years of drought.
   
image from westernfarmpress.com
    
Why the growth? There's big demand for almonds in Asia as 70% of the almonds are exported. The state's almond board has an office in China to promote the nut as a healthy snack.

Top ag commodities in dollars are milk, almonds, grapes, cattle and lettuce. Unofficially, marijuana is near the top, but not included (for now). California's crop value is about twice that of the second highest state, Iowa. In Sonoma County, as expected, wine grapes are on top followed by dairy.