San Joaquin County’s milk producers recorded a major financial boost in 2022, while the county’s almond and walnut producers continued to face declining revenues, according to the 2022 San Joaquin County Annual Crop and Livestock Report.
The county’s agricultural industry brought in a gross amount of more than $3.2 billion in 2022, a 1.6 percent increase from 2021.
The crop report was presented by Agriculture Commissioner Kamaljit Bagri during the county Board of Supervisors regular meeting Tuesday. It detailed the top commodities in the county, along with updates on programs related to pesticide use and inspections for invasive pests.
Milk was the top commodity in the county in 2022. Producers saw a 41 percent increase in revenue last year from 2021, recording over $626 million in gross sales.
Grapes were the second-highest grossing commodity last year. Despite a 2 percent decline, grapes brought in over $421 million in 2022.
Almonds were ranked third, with revenue falling more than $56 million from 2021, a decrease of 12 percent. The crop recorded over $377 million in gross sales in 2022.
Walnuts, ranked sixth, saw a 60 percent decline in 2022 from 2021, continuing a trend in the industry that has been driven by lower prices that peaked in 2014. A heat wave in 2022 exacerbated the issue.
“The global market for almonds and walnuts is alarming, so we need to uplift local farmers so that they have a competitive advantage,” Supervisor Paul Canepa said.
A federal program offers growers low-interest loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, but Bagri said the loans can be difficult to secure.
Both types of nuts remained in the county’s top three exports, along with cherries.
By percentage, tomatoes, hay and silage recorded the biggest increases, up 61, 65 and 66 percent, respectively. Tomatoes recorded over $114 million in gross sales, hay over $113 million, and silage, including corn, over $88 million.
The department has placed 11,850 traps throughout the county for pests including the light brown apple moth, Mediterranean fruit fly, and glassy-winged sharpshooter. The pest inspection program will soon be bolstered by the addition of a federally funded inspection dog.
The county also helped collect 4,400 gallons of unwanted pesticides for safe disposal as part of its regional pesticide amnesty program, according to the industry report.