While society is still dealing with COVID-19 as far as Tulare County's agricultural production in 2021, it could be referred to as the post-COVID rebound.
For the first time ever, total gross agricultural production in the county exceeded $8 billion as the total gross ag production in the county in 2021 was $8.09 billion. That figure was presented as part of the 2021 Tulare County Crop Report presented at Tuesday's Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting.
The $8.09 billion represented nearly a $1 billion increase over 2020 in which total gross production in the county was $7.14 billion.
Ag production in 2020 was affected by COVID as total gross production dropped that year to $7.14 billion from $7.5 billion in 2019. The increase from 2020 to 2021 represented a 13.3 percent increase.
Milk was again the No. 1 product in Tulare County with a total gross production of $1.943 billion. And even with the COVID pandemic, total gross production of milk increased for the second straight year.
The total gross product of milk increased by $255 million from 2019 to 2020 and increased by more than $400 million from 2020 to 2021.
The No. 2 crop in Tulare County in 2021 was navel and valencia oranges at $1.22 billion. No. 3 was graves at $684 million, No. 4 was cattle at more than $633 million and No. 5 was pistachios at $560 million.
Total production increased in Tulare County despite a continued decline in overall crop acreage. The total acreage for fruit and nut trees was nearly 450,000 acres in the county, a slight decline of nearly 2,000 acres from the year before.
For field crops, total acreage 1.15 million acres, a decrease of nearly 18,000 acres from the year before. Acreage for field crops has continually declined from the high of 1.4 million acres in 2015.
Pistachios continue to be on the significant rise with an increase of 3,200 acres in 2021 over 2020. The gross product of pistachios has increased by 387 percent since 2011.
Total production and acreage for grapes, though, continues to fall. Acreage for grapes decreased by 5,000 acres in 2021 from 2020 and the production of grapes decreased by more than $150 million in 2021 from 2020.
The No. 1 exported crop from the county is navel and valencia oranges with Korea being the No. 1 exporter of that product. China is the No. 1 exporter of pistachios. Tulare County exports 150 commodities to 90 countries.
Supervisor Pete Vander Poel asked Tulare County Ag Commissioner Tom Tucker if other counties have released their crop reports. Tucker said other counties such as Fresno and Kern County haven't released their figures yet but he's heard “their numbers have increased some.”
Fresno, Kern and Tulare County's are the world's three largest ag producers. Typically, Fresno and Kern Counties battle for the title of the world's largest ag producer while Tulare County ranks No. 3.