California farmers recently set a new state record for farm cash receipts, the state Department of Food and Agriculture reported recently. In 2010, the state’s combined 80,000 farms received over $37 billion, an increase of about ten percent from 2010 (a monetary increase of $3 billion. This news comes as welcome relief to a nation still suffering from high unemployment and a sluggish economy.
The major powerhouses of California’s farm economy turned out to be dairy farms. The dairy industry recorded incomes of around $6 billion in 2010, a massive 31 percent increase from 2009. While the dairy industry experienced its share of ups and downs throughout the year, it is faring better than similar industries across the country. New York, for example, has been trying to resuscitate its struggling dairy industry for months, only recently experiencing its own dairy boom.
Another major part of California’s record setting income is nuts and nut production. Pistachio production in California topped $1 billion for the first time, an increase of over 90 percent from 2009. In addition to pistachios, walnuts topped $1 billion for the first time.
However, these incomes are only part of the overall picture of the agricultural industry. While prices and incomes are up, costs have also rises proportionally. With fuel and feed prices high, many farmers are unable to enjoy these record setting incomes, which are often offset by record costs that eat into farm profits.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer