MONTEREY COUNTY — Agricultural Commissioner Henry Gonzales has announced that the economic value of Monterey County agriculture increased by 4 percent in 2017, as compared with 2016, with crop production values of $4.4 billion.

The State-required annual crop report documents the details of this year’s increase.

Several of Monterey County’s top crops (leaf lettuce, head lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower) increased between 5 percent and 8 percent. Greater fresh strawberry production brought lower prices resulting in a 4 percent drop in value, and foreign competition contributed to significantly decreased freezer strawberry values.

Large swings were noted in some smaller vegetable crops. Bok Choy, Napa cabbage, parsley and peppers dropped 20 percent to 52 percent, whereas the values of anise, artichokes, blackberries, chard, kale, leeks, onions and peas increased 35 percent to 174 percent. The category of livestock increased 26 percent as ranchers restocked herds and forage production increased with the rainfall.

“Once again, we see the diversity of crop production in Monterey County provide resiliency and protection against economic shocks,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales noted that Monterey County ag production has approached or exceeded $4 billion in eight of the last nine years.

“This demonstrates that agriculture in Monterey County is sustainable and a reliable source of economic strength,” Gonzales said. “We highlighted the history of Monterey County agriculture in this year’s crop report. We hope you enjoy this ‘look back’ at how Monterey County became one of the top agricultural counties in the state.”

Other speakers at the June 26 briefing included: Norm Groot, executive director, Monterey County Farm Bureau; Pat Collins, vice president of ag operations, Ippolito International; Kim Stemler, executive director, Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association; and Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director, California Strawberry Commission.

The crop report was released at a public briefing at the Ag Center Conference Room in Salinas. It may be downloaded from the Agricultural Commissioner’s website

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