The following is a news release from the County of Marin:
The Marin County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures is reporting another record on the gross value of agricultural production, up 4.9 percent in 2013 from the record set in 2012. Partly fueled by a large jump in egg production, the $84.3 million yield in gross returns (not net profit) is up from $80.4 million in 2012, according to the 2013 Crop and Livestock Report issued by Agricultural Commissioner Stacy Carlsen.
Carlsen provided highlights of the report June 3 to the Marin County Board of Supervisors, which accepted the report.
Since a three-year downward trend between 2007 and 2009, the gross value of agriculture production has been on the rise. The value ballooned from $56 million in 2010 to $70 million in 2011.
Although milk production remained in the No. 1 spot in Marin, poultry production (including eggs) jumped the most in 2013 – 89.9 percent – followed by a 74.4 percent jump in fruit and vegetable production. Of the $84.3 million in total gross sales for Marin, livestock and livestock products accounted for $63.1 million. Field crops represented $9.9 million, aquaculture was $5.5 million and fruit, grape and vegetable crops were $5.3 million.
Carlsen said the increases are largely attributed to more complete data extracted from a new online reporting system implemented in April 2013 by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Historically, producers reported statistics for the annual crop report on a voluntary basis rather than filling out an online form. In the past, survey returns were as low as 30 percent.
“My appreciation goes to the many growers, producers, individuals and organizations for their cooperation in providing the information necessary for this report,” Carlsen wrote in the report.
Egg production boomed in 2013, mostly from chickens raised on pasture, according to the new statistics. Some cattle-based ranches have diversified to add economic stability, adding egg production to existing cattle operations to increase overall agricultural production and to allow for multiple family generations to derive a livable income from ranching. Also, the state now requires any person engaged in business as an egg producer or handler to be registered, resulting in the number of Marinregistrations to double in 2013.
Milk sales, filed under livestock products category, accounted for $33.4 million in gross sales, accounting for 40.4 percent of the crop report’s total value. Because of higher milk prices and a decrease in production, gross sales were down $705,665 from a year ago. Marin has about 33,000 head of cattle (cows, heifers, calves and bulls).
The crop report also includes information about organic farming, pest detection and exclusion, biological pest control, livestock protection from predators, invasive weed management and sudden oak death.