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September 26, 2023

Winter storms cause $600M in Monterey County ag losses

‘One of the most difficult winters’ for growers, says agricultural commissioner

MONTEREY COUNTY — This year’s onslaught of winter storms have cumulatively impacted a total of 20,073 acres and created $600 million of damage to the Monterey County agricultural industry. 

On Friday, the County of Monterey Agricultural Commissioner’s Office released the results of a second survey of flood and storm damage impacting local agriculture in March. This followed the first survey that captured storm impacts from January, which totaled $336 million.

The second survey shows damages, current loss estimates and projected future losses totaling an additional $264 million from the March storms.

“This has proven to be one of the most difficult winters many of our growers and communities have experienced in our area,” said Juan Hidalgo, County of Monterey agricultural commissioner. “I am hopeful that having a full picture of the extent of this winter’s damage will open new recovery opportunities and assistance to our impacted growers.” 

Approximately 8,736 acres of crops were destroyed or unable to be planted due to the flooding in March; half of these acres were newly impacted and not previously reported in the January storm survey results.

Strawberries were significantly affected due to flooding in the Pajaro Valley, where an estimated 1,919 acres were damaged totaling $160 million in losses.

Other key commodities in the region that were significantly impacted include: lettuces, $54.4 million; vegetable crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.), $24.2 million; caneberries (raspberries and blackberries), $11.4 million; and wine grapes, $1.35 million.

Monterey County has 1,104 farms and 366,709 total crop acres, according to the most recent U.S. Farm Census. The 2021 Monterey County Crop and Livestock Report values agriculture production at $4.1 billion.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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