TopicsTopics

Stay Connected

Follow ERS on Twitter
Subscribe to RSS feeds
Subscribe to ERS e-Newsletters.aspx
Listen to ERS podcasts
Read ERS blogs at USDA
Image: Business Man Reading Newspaper

California Drought 2014: Crop Sectors


Fruit, tree nuts, and vegetables play a dominant role in California agriculture, and California producers account for a large share of U.S. production of many products in these categories. More than half of California’s agricultural crop value comes from fruit and tree nut production ($15 billion average for 2010-12) and about a quarter from commercial vegetables ($6.3 billion, excluding potatoes) (fig. 2). These commodities represent over 60 percent of total U.S. fruit and tree nut farm value and 51 percent of vegetable farm value.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2Crop shares

  • The 2007 Census of Agriculture reports that 21 percent of all U.S. farms growing fruit (including berries), tree nuts, and vegetables are in California, accounting for 40 percent of the total acreage for the sector.
  • Most of this acreage is under irrigation—specifically, 97 percent of the State’s land in orchards, 100 percent of the land in berries, and 100 percent of the land planted to vegetables.
  • California grows an overwhelming majority of the Nation’s grapes, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, avocados, raspberries, kiwifruit, olives, dates, and figs (table 3).
  • California’s tree nut production is the Nation’s largest, supplying virtually all U.S. almonds, walnuts, and pistachios.
  • California ranks second to Florida in citrus production but is the major supplier of citrus fruit for the fresh market. A vast majority of citrus acreage in the State is devoted to oranges. California also produces over 90 percent of U.S. lemons and more than 50 percent of U.S. tangerines.
Table 3. California fruit and tree nuts: Commodity rank, acreage, production value, 2012
CommodityU.S. rank 1/
(Number)
CA share of U.S. production 1/
(Percent)
Area harvested
(1,000 acres)
Production
(1,000 tons)
Total value 2/
($1,000)
Harvest season
Almonds (shelled) 3/ 1 99 780 1000 4,347,200 Aug. 1-
Oct. 31
Apples 4 3 17.5 150 77,750 July 15-
Oct. 30
Apricots 1 88 10.8 53.8 32,260 May 1-
July 15
Avocados 1 88 12.5 31.1 381,957  Continuous
Berries, blueberries 6 9 4.7 20.4 133,743  —
Berries, rasberries 1 74 5.4 48.6 239,820 June 1-
Oct. 31
Berries, fresh strawberries 1 91 38.5 1096.8 1,939,142 Feb. 20-
Nov. 15
Berries, processed strawberries 1 92  — 285 182,432  —
Cherries, sweet 2 22 31 92.3 257,772 May 20-
June 25
Dates 3/ 1 82 8.4 31.1 41,674 Oct. 1-
Dec. 15
Figs 3/ 4/ 1 96 8.6 38.7 20,335 June 10-
Sept. 15
Grapefruit, all 3 15 9.4 160 55,880 Nov. 1-
Oct. 31
Grapes, all 1 91 796 6678 4,450,626  —
Kiwifruit 3/ 4/ 1 97 4.2 29.6 22,940 Oct. 1-
May 31
Lemons 1 92 45 800 435,752 Aug. 1-
July 31
Nectarines 3/ 1 95 25 180 139,860 June 10-
Sept. 5
Olives 3/ 1 96 44 160 13,038 Sept. 25-
Mar. 15
Oranges, all 2 29 177 2320 764,783 Nov. 1-
Oct.31
Peaches, clingstone 1 100 23 369 128,397 July 15-
Sept. 15
Peaches, freestone 1 56 24 344 202,297 May10-
Sept. 15
Peaches, all 1 73 47 713 330,694 — 
Pears, all 3 25 14 215 93,977 Aug. 5-
Oct. 5
Pecans 7 2  — 24 7,584 Sept. 1-
Nov. 30
Pistachios, 3/ 1 98 178 2755 1,113,020 Sept. 15-
Dec. 10
Plums 3/ 1 97 25 115 79,940 May 25-
Aug. 20
Plums, dried 3/ 1 99 55 125 156,250 Aug. 15-
Oct. 10
Mandarins, specialty citrus 1 51 38 540 D Nov. 1 -
May 15
Walnuts 3/ 4/ 1 99 245 470 1,363,000 Sept. 5-
Nov. 10
Fruit and tree nuts total value
    
  17,373,946 
Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Pacific Regional Office-California,  California Agricultural Statistics, 2012. 1/ Based on quantity produced.  2/ Based on the value of quantity harvested. 3/ Share of U.S. production based on 2007 Census of Agriculture.  4/ Calculated using 2012 production multiplied by 2011 price. D = witheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.

California is the leading U.S. producer of various vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, snap beans, broccoli, cauliflower, fresh market cabbage, celery, lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes, to name a few (table 4). California is also the Nation’s largest producer of melons, accounting for about one-third of annual U.S. volume.

  • Lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, and fresh-market carrots were among the top 20 commodities produced by the State in 2012, accounting for 56 percent of its total production value for vegetables and melons.
  • More than half of California-grown melons are cantaloupes, of which the State is the largest U.S. producer, along with honeydew melons. Watermelons are the most predominantly grown melon in the United States, and California is the third-largest producer, after Florida and Georgia.

Integral to California’s fruit, tree nuts, and vegetable sectors are the San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast district, where drought conditions are at exceptional levels. These two production areas generate more than half of California’s fruit and tree nuts on a farm-value basis and about 20 percent of vegetable farm value (based on the California County Agricultural Commissioners’ Reports, 2012).

  • The San Joaquin Valley district includes San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Kern counties.
  • The Central Coast district includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Lake, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma counties.
  • Most of these areas are irrigated—98 percent of orchard and berry acreage in the San Joaquin Valley and 90 percent in the Central Coast district. For vegetables, both these districts are virtually all irrigated.
  • The San Joaquin Valley is the largest fruit and nut producing district in the State, accounting for 64 percent of total fruit and nut crop value in 2012. Grapes, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, oranges, peaches, tangerines, and sweet cherries are the primary fruit and nut crops produced in the valley.
  • The San Joaquin Valley also produces one-third of California’s vegetables, which in 2012 amounted to a district total of $2.65 billion in gross farm value (based on County Agricultural Commissioners’ Reports, 2012). It is the second-largest vegetable-producing district in California, next to the Central Coast Valley, which generated $3.36 billion in gross farm value in the same year.  
  • Ninety-five percent of harvested vegetable acreage in the Central Coast district is for the fresh market, according to USDA’s 2007 Census of Agriculture, while those in the San Joaquin Valley are more equally divided between the fresh and processing markets (46 percent and 53 percent, respectively).
Table 4. California vegetables and melons: Commodity rank, acreage, production value, 2012
CommodityU.S. rank 1/
(Number)
CA share of U.S.
production 1/
(Percent)
Area harvested
(1,000 acres)
Production
(1,000 tons)
Total value
2/
($1,000)
Harvest
season
 Artichokes 3/ 1  99  7.8  56.6  53,723  Continuous
 Asparagus 1  48  11.5  18.4  48,208  Jan. 1-
 Nov. 30
 Beans, fresh market snap 1  18  9.2  48.3  62,887  June 1-
 Dec. 31
 Broccoli 1  95  119  971.8  644,747  Continuous
 Cabbage, fresh 2  21  11.5  218.5  74,727  Continuous
 Carrots, fresh 1  81  61  945.5  503,006  Continuous
 Cauliflower 1  86  32  288  194,952  Jan. 20-
 Dec. 15
 Celery 1  94  27  931.5  344,024  Continuous
 Corn, fresh sweet 2  19  33.8  295.8  123,032  May 1-
 Dec. 1
 Cucumbers, fresh 4   7  3.7  37  30,784  Apr. 1-
 Nov. 30
 Garlic 3/ 1  98  25  212.5  221,289  Apr. 1-
 Sept. 15
 Lettuce, head 1  71  90  1620  596,160  Jan. 1-
 Nov. 30
 Lettuce, leaf 1  85  43.2  529.2  369,382  Continuous
 Lettuce, romaine 1  75  66.5  1030.7  482,391  Continuous
 Melons, canteloupe 1  64  36  540  185,760  June 1-
 Dec. 15
 Melons, honeydew 1  73  10.5  126  47,376  June 1-
 Dec. 15
 Melons, watermelon 3  16  10  305  78,080  May 1-
 Nov. 30
 Mushroom, Agaricus 2  14  0.6  60.7  208,118  Continuous
 Onions, all 1  27  43.7  981.6  179,702  May 1-
 Oct. 31
 Peppers, bell 1  53  23.3  494.6  280,820  Apr. 1-
 Oct. 31
 Peppers, chile 1  65  7.1  157.8  99,682  May 1-
 Nov. 30
 Pumpkins 2  15  5.5  93.5  27,489  Sept. 1-
 Oct. 31
 Spinach, fresh 1  60  21.2  159  140,556  Continuous
 Spinach, processing 1  85  6.5  88  12,313  Continuous
 Squash 3  16  6.1  61  35,052  June 1-
 Aug. 31
 Tomatoes, fresh 1  35  31  488.2  221,666  May 15-
 Jan. 31
 Tomatoes, processing 1  96  258  12640  948,000  June 20-
 Nov. 10
 Other, vegetables and melons          552,362  
Vegetable and melon crops total  value        6,766,288 
Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Pacific Regional Office-California,  California Agricultural Statistics, 2012. 1/ Based on quantity produced. 2/ Based on the value of quantity harvested. 3/ Based on values published in the county agricultural commissioners' annual crop reports.

Last updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

For more information contact: Agnes Perez and Hodan Farah Wells

Share or Save this Page