Cows on Hill

Placer ag value drops 11 percent in 2017, livestock bests rice as top product

AUBURN, Calif. — Record-setting rainfall in 2017 led to a sharp reduction in Placer County’s planted rice acreage, driving an 11 percent loss of total crop value.

That’s according to the 2017 Placer County Agricultural Crop Report, presented to the county Board of Supervisors as an informational item today at their meeting in Auburn.

The report pegs the total gross value of last year’s agricultural crops and products at $58,059,000, down $7,147,000 or 11 percent from the 2016 total of $65,206,000.

The annual totals reflect the gross value of agricultural crops and products, not the net incomes producers receive.

A large-scale conversion of rice land to nut orchards also affected 2017’s crop values. This trend is expected to continue until the newly-planted almond and walnut trees begin bearing.

“For the first time in more than a decade rice was supplanted as the county’s top grossing crop,” explained Joshua Huntsinger, the county’s agricultural commissioner and sealer of weights and measures.

Placer County’s top five crops for 2017 were:

  1. Cattle and calves: $9,912,000, up 15 percent from 2016
  2. Nursery stock: $8,442,000, up 3 percent
  3. Rice: $8,315,000, down 34 percent
  4. Timber, $5,883,000, up 30 percent; and
  5. Walnuts: $4,847,000, down 14 percent.

Total values were up for high-profile crops like mandarin oranges and vegetables that often are sold at local farmers’ markets and other direct-marketing outlets. Mandarins were up 23 percent at $2 million, vegetables were up 5 percent to $1.8 million and pears jumped 85 percent to $105,000.

For more information, contact the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office at 530-889-7372.