After sustaining a significant decrease in agricultural production value the previous year, San Mateo County agricultural values took a $3 million upturn in part due to increased rainfall, higher value floral products and more forage and feed for cattle and calves.

The estimated value of all crops in 2016 is $135 million, an increase of $3 million from the previous year, according to the 2016 Agricultural Crop Report for San Mateo County. Agricultural Commissioner Fred Crowder will present the annual report to the Board of Supervisors at its July 25 meeting.

Although the report includes many greater “per unit values” Crowder noted in his preface to the report that it does not necessarily translate to more money for growers because the values do not account for the costs of production, harvesting and distribution.

“Also higher are the costs of labor, seed, starts, soil amendments and other farm supplies,” Crowder wrote.

But after seeing local agriculture values drop $19.7 million between 2014 and 2015, Crowder said he is relieved to see values remain relatively steady. The large drop documented in the 2015 report was attributed to a mix of factors including a shortage of migrant farm labor which in turn led to substantial cutbacks in production of indoor floral and nursery crops.

Although the shortage of labor continues, indoor grown floral and nursery crops saw a small increase of $1.3 million and an estimated value of $76.6 million. Other increases were reported for forest products, outdoor ornamental nursery crops and outdoor cut flowers and fruit and nut crops. Wine grape values held steady and Brussel sprouts — long the highest value vegetable commodity of San Mateo County — continues its reign although the crop value did drop to $13 million, or $2.3 million less than the previous year. The decrease is due to increased plantings elsewhere in California which pushed prices down, Crowder said. 

Increased rainfall also boosted grain, hay and overall production of field crops which saw gains in both acreage planted and yield, pushing values for the commodity group to $1.1 million, an increase of 28 percent from the previous year.

The rainfall also helped provide more forage and feed to cattle and calves and the livestock industry value increased to $2.6 million. Although the previous year’s ongoing statewide drought contributed to a drop in the number of cattle on the range, both the number of head sold and the value of livestock went up 8.9 percent to almost $2 million in 2016.

The full report is available at http://agwm.smcgov.org/agricultural-crop-report