AGRICULTURE IN YOLO COUNTY
TAKES A LICKIN AND KEEPS ON TICKIN
By Dave Rosenberg
Yolo County Supervisor, District Four
Neither rain, nor sun, nor sleet, nor hail, nor El Nino can keep Yolo County agriculture from its appointed rounds. The 1997 Agricultural Crop Report for Yolo County shows that agriculture in this county may be buffeted by nature and market conditions, but continues to show great strength as Yolo County’s leading industry.
A number of Yolo County commodities went down from 1996 to 1997 including vegetable crops, organic production and apiary-livestock-poultry. The biggest drop, regrettably, was in Yolo County’s #1 crop, processing tomatoes. In 1996, 67,700 acres of tomatoes were harvested, yielding $117,843 in value. In 1997, only 49,200 acres were harvested, generating $84,586 in value.
On the other hand, a number of commodities displayed remarkable gains from 1996 to 1997 including fruit and nut crops (from $51,100,000 in value to $70,983,000); field crops (from $91,535,000 to $114,391,000); and seed crops (from $19,545,000 to $28,629,000).
Wine grape production is coming on strongly and leading the charge in Yolo County, with total harvested acreage increasing from 4,540 in 1996 to 6,833 in 1997, and total value jumping from $16,780,000 to $37,385,000. Other crops showing remarkable improvement in Yolo County include English walnuts, field corn, alfalfa hay, safflower, melons and sugar beets. Slight increases were also found in rice, wheat and beans.
At the risk of prognostication, I will predict that Yolo County, in future years, will see more and more acreage devoted to wine grapes as this County becomes home to new and expanding wineries. I’ll also predict that nut production will increase as we’re seeing more and more acreage planted in recent years. It takes those trees a few years to mature.
Overall, production value increased in all commodities from $312,692,000 in 1996 to $334,805,000 in 1997.
And even though tomato production was down in 1997, tomatoes still remain Yolo County’s leading commodity, by far. The top 10 commodities in Yolo County for 1997 are:
1. Processing Tomatoes $84,586,000
2. Wine Grapes 37,385,000
3. Alfalfa Hay 30,003,000
4. Seed Crops 28,629,000
5. Field Corn 20,060,000
6. Rice 18,651,000
7. Wheat 17,344,000
8. English Walnuts 16,858,000
9. Safflower 11,395,000
10. Honeydew Melons 8,147,000
Agriculture remains an extremely significant part of Yolo Countys culture and character, and the cornerstone of its economy.