Tulare beats out Fresno for top crop revenue

(Paul Myers)
(Paul Myers)
Brock Linebaugh
Published October 14, 2023  • 
10:00 am

TULARE COUNTY – The annual crop and livestock reports for 2022 are in and the numbers reveal that Tulare County has surpassed Fresno’s sales by half a billion. Combined with the total revenue from Kern County, which had the third highest earnings, these Central Valley counties have amassed over $24.4 billion. This means that they account for 44% of California’s total ag production, which had an approximate value of $55.8 billion.

On Oct. 10, it was revealed that total gross value for Fresno County agricultural commodities was a record-breaking $8.1 billion which is a .12% increase over 2021’s production value. Tulare County exceeded their neighbor’s 2022 revenue by earning $8.6 billion.

According to the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner, Milk continues to be the leading agricultural commodity in Tulare County, with a gross value of $2.6 billion; an increase of $728,248,000 (37%) from last year’s earnings. Milk represented 31% of the total crop and livestock earnings.

While Tulare County produces the most milk in the nation, it has worked hard to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, using digesters to capture methane from manure and convert the greenhouse gas into a natural resource used to fuel farm vehicles, homes, and transportation fleets. As of report, the county has reached 56% of their 2030 pollution reduction goal. 

This strategy, combined with scientifically advanced animal nutrition and breeding genetics, has allowed dairy herd sizes to be reduced while increasing milk production. Since 2013, the number of dairy cows in Tulare County has declined by 30,000. This has led to reduced methane emissions and even better cow comfort.

Following milk, the top ten highest earning products were oranges ($1.3 billion), grapes ($841,137,000), cattle and calves ($763,200,000), pistachios ($442,960,000), almonds ($344,918,000), tangerines ($324,360,000), corn ($295,093,000), silage ($190,827,000) and lemons ($164,671,000). 

As for Fresno County, For the first time since 2012, grapes took their top spot with a total gross value of $1.2 billion. Almonds dropped to the second top gross with a value of $1.1 billion, followed by pistachios ($705,941,000), milk ($655,138,000), poultry ($538,305,000), cattle and calves ($488,665,000), tomatoes ($429,263,000), peaches ($368,392,00), garlic ($351,875,000) and mandarins ($240,684,000).

According to their press release, Fresno County’s agricultural strength is based on the diversity of crops produced. Included in this year’s report are over 183 different commodities, 77 of which have a gross value in excess of one million dollars.

Tulare’s Agricultural Commissioner similarly stated in the county’s 2022 crop report that their strength also comes from its wide variety of crops produced. The report covered over 150 different commodities, 41 of which have a gross value in excess of $1,000,000. These “high-quality crops” export to and provide food for 90 countries throughout the world.

While the numbers for 2023 won’t be released until next year, both countries have experienced steady growth throughout the years, thanks to both population increase, and agricultural innovation such as Tulare’s recycled methane initiative.

Brock Linebaugh