California Agriculture

California Agriculture

The state of California is located on the western seaboard of the American continent and is known to be one of the most populated states in the United States of America. The climate and the geography of the state are extremely diverse. Thus some selective places like the Central Valley do have cohesive conditions for agricultural activities. The Mojave Desert on the other hand presents a very inhospitable environment.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is the regulatory authority when it comes to the state of California. This department has jurisdiction over the entire state.
  • The purpose behind the existence of this department is to maintain high levels of quality prescribed for the farmers.
  • The CDFA has some of the most strict rules and regulations as California also exports a considerable percentage of its agricultural produce to other states and countries.
  • The CDFA has field offices in over 32 counties of the state along with two other offices located outside the state of California in Hawaii and Arizona.
The Crops Grown in California
  • The state of California is one of the biggest producers of citrus fruits in the country. In fact it is the state of California which started producing Valencia orange on a large scale.
  • The Hass Avocado is another important crop grown in California. This specific Avocado accounts for the highest percentage of produce in the state of California (an astounding 95% of the California crop).
  • Olives are another example of mass produced crops of California. Almost 70 to 80% of the total ripe olives in the United States of America are grown in California.
  • California also produces certain exclusive crops like artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruits, prunes, raisins, clovers and walnuts.
  • Almonds constitute a major portion of the exported produce of the state of California.
The Fruit Crops of California
  • Strawberries are one of the major fruit produce and strawberry cultivation is a major business in the state of California.
  • The statistics show that on an average 1.4 billion pounds of strawberries are produced in a year. This is approximately 83% of the country’s total fresh and frozen strawberry produce.
  • The strawberry industry is pegged at $700 million. This industry alone employs around 48,ooo people.
  • Around 12% of the total strawberry produce is exported to countries like Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Japan.
  • California also produces 98% of the total fresh grapes produced in the United States of America.

Around 550 farmers constitute the fresh grape industry of California and provide not only to the country but also to 60 different overseas markets.

California Agriculture Statistics
Top Commodities, Exports and Counties
Top 5 agriculture commodities, 2001
Commodity Value of receipts
thousand $
Percent of state total
farm receipts
Percent of US value
1.     Dairy products 4,630,171 17.9 18.8
2.     Greenhouse/nursery 2,851,339 11.0 20.7
3.     Grapes 2,653,623 10.2 90.8
4.     Lettuce 1,370,004 5.3 71.8
5.     Cattle and calves 1,351,500 5.2 3.3
All commodities 25,892,319   12.8
Top 5 Agriculture Exports, Estimates, FY 2001
Commodity Rank among
states
Value
million $
1.     Other 1 2,339.0
2.     Vegetables and preparations 1 2,071.6
3.     Fruits and preparations 1 1,819.1
4.     Tree nuts 1 1,032.4
5.     Cotton and linters 2 405.4
Overall 1 8,698.5
Top 5 Counties in Agricultural Sales 1997
Counties Percent of state's
total receipts
Million $
1.     Fresno 12.0 2,772.8
2.     Kern 8.5 1,968.5
3.     Tulare 8.3 1,921.4
4.     Monterey 7.6 1,749.7
5.     Merced 5.5 1,273.5
State total   23,032.3