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County ag production drops 4.7 percent
July 23, 2012, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff
The value of last year’s county agriculture production dropped nearly 5 percent over the prior year although a heightened interest in beekeeping helped livestock products to jump up by more than half, according to the county’s annual crop report

The total gross value of agricultural production in 2011 was $137,009,000 which is 4.7 percent less than the 2010 value of $143,700,000.

That year’s total itself 3.7 percent less than 2009 although it was far from the 8.3 increase before that point.

Even with dropping figures, Agricultural Commissioner Fred Crowder noted in a letter to the Board of Supervisors that each dollar of agricultural production contribute $1.62 to $3.50 in economic multipliers through related activities like harvesting, processing and distribution.

Crowder will deliver the full annual report to the supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting.

Most of the county’s agricultural commodities remained relatively stable or saw an increase but floral and nursery crops posted a loss of 6.6 percent in value and fruit an nut crops saw a 27 percent reduction.

Floral and nursery crops make up more than half of the county’s agricultural production so any reduction has "a considerable impact” on the overall value, according to Crowder.

Unseasonably late rains and changes in production practices contributed to the $617,000 drop in value for fruit and nuts, according to the report.

The high dollar value of Brussels sprouts and leeks kept vegetable crop value healthy with $693,000 more in value than 2010. Brussels sprouts are continually on the rise, with its dollar figures increasing even in past years of overall value drops, too. The same held true even 50 years ago. According to a chart Crowder included of the top 10 agricultural commodities in 1961, Brussels sprouts were still king in San Mateo  County followed by indoor grown carnations and flowering potted plants, mushrooms, outdoor grown chrysanthemums, milk, cattle and calves, hogs and pigs, indoor grown chrysanthemums and indoor grown organs.

In the most recent report, Field crops like oat hay and grain and dry beans raised production of field crops by 29.1 percent and lumber pushed forest products by 18.2 percent.

An interest in beekeeping — contributing both honey and beeswax —  along with more dairy and egg production helped livestock products and apiary post a 56.9 percent, or $536,000, increase.

The Board of Supervisors meets 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 24 in Board Chambers, 400 County Government Center, Redwood City.

Michelle Durand can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.

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