When it comes to diversity, California is a global leader. And that includes the crops our farmers grow. In fact, California farmers produce more than 400 different commodities that make up categories such as fruits and vegetables, nuts, animal feed, and grains. California agriculture is more than just nuts… a lot more.
In terms of dollar value of these crop categories, the hands down leader is our fresh fruit and vegetable production, Nuts come in a distant second, followed far behind by animal feed, including corn and alfalfa, and grains, such as rice and oats.
According to 2020 data by the US Department of Agriculture National Ag Statistics Service*, California fruit and vegetable production totaled $17.66 billion, or 59 percent of the irrigated crop total. Nuts, from almonds to pistachios to walnuts, totaled $9.45 billion, accounting for 32 percent, and grains brought in $916.3 million, rounding out the remaining 6 percent.
Making sure California retains the diversity of crops it grows requires adequate and dependable supplies of irrigation water. When water is short – and more expensive – farmers have fewer choices on the crops they can plant to be able to pay all of the costs of production, including escalating water prices.