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Report shows county agriculture going strong at $1.683 billion in 2011

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Despite a troubled economy, San Diego County agriculture posted a 2 percent gain in 2011 over the previous year, according to the latest agriculture report released in August. Total value of all agriculture products produced in our county rose to $1,683,745,072 for the year. For the third straight year ornamental trees and shrubs remained at the top of the list bringing in $384,433.569. Total dollar production for all nursery products was in excess of $1 billion - $1,092,916,550.

“For agriculture, 2011 was a good year in San Diego County,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “The weather was kind, and a decent amount of rain and snowfall enabled the lifting of mandatory water restrictions. Because of our diverse microclimates, growers here produced a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and ornamental trees and shrubs. From strawberries on the coast, to apples in the mountains and palm trees in the desert, the diversity is amazing. Our farmers deserve congratulations on their successes, especially in these economically challenging times.”

Lisa Leondis, who serves as the county agriculture commissioner and director of the Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures added, “While we’re pleased agriculture in the county is thriving, we still face threats to our industry. One of the biggest threats right now is Huanglongbing, or HLB, which is carried by the Asian citrus psyllid. That pest and the disease has already been found north of us in LA, and south of us across the border. As they have already discovered in Florida and Texas, HLB has the ability to destroy a local citrus industry. So we appreciate the recent Board of Supervisors action supporting our efforts to keep that from happening here in San Diego County.”

When one thinks of farms, a visual often comes to mind of vast rows of corn in Iowa, or wheat fields stretching to the horizon in Kansas. However, because farms can also be much smaller in acreage, San Diego County with an average farm size of about four acres has the largest number of farms in the nation, just under 7,000; farms that produce everything from strawberries to palm trees, and from flowers to chickens and eggs. And we’re number one in yet another category. For all you guacamole lovers, San Diego County is number one in the nation in the production of avocados.

And now the countdown: The top ten crops for San Diego County for 2011

1.      Ornamental Trees & Shrubs               $384,433,569

2.      Indoor Flowering & Foliage Plants     $ 320,850,000

3.      Bedding Plants, Color                         $213,900,000

4.      Avocados                                             $208,131,027

5.      Tomatoes                                            $  81,899.165

6.      Eggs, Chicken Market                         $  54,665,626

7.      Lemons                                                $  40,718,400

8.      Cacti & Succulents                              $  25,333,188

9.      Herbaceous Perennials                       $  24,125,273

10.  Foliage                                                $  19,938,534             

Complete 2011 Agriculture Report available here in pdf.