Agri-Stats: California Ag Has Not Recovered From the Drought.

In October 2016, California Department of Food and Ag (CDFA) announced 2016, “In 2015 California’s farms and ranches received approximately $47 billion for their output. This represents a decrease of nearly 17 percent compared to 2014.” The US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said prior-year comparable receipts were $56.6 billion. cThat’s a revenue loss of $9.6 billion in a single year. Supposedly, these losses are the equivalent of Ebay being wiped out (Kasler) .

It is assumed that the 2015 Ag businesses losses were due to drought and curtailment of water allocations for irrigation purposes.

However, 2017 statistics show that the state has not fully recovered from the impacts of the drought. In 2017, California’s farms and ranches received over $50 billion in cash receipts for their output. This represents an increase of almost 6 percent compared to 20161.

1 Based on USDA ERS figures published as of August 30, 2018

Kasler, Dale. California Revenues Plunge in 2015. The Sacramento Bee. (August 30, 2016)

2017 California Department of Food and Ag (CDFA) Ag Production Statistics

Agri-Stats: Aging Agricultural Communities

In the December 2014 edition of Rangelands, researchers explored demographic trends of farm and ranch operators concentrating on Wyoming.

Rangelands reported the project findings:

  • Census records indicate that Wyoming’s agricultural community is aging.
  • There are risks associated with loss of local knowledge, loss of tradition and loss of investment that stem from a deep-rooted sense of place.
  • Fundamental challenges exist to incentivize young agriculturalists to replace those in retirement age.
  • Solutions? Finding young farmers and ranchers might be accomplished through shifts in education, public policy, economic incentives, or through targeted cultivation of personal connections to the land.

Growing Produce summarized this project: “… the authors forecast a bleak farming future: no operators younger than 35 by 2033 and an average age of 60 by 2050. Even if their children and grandchildren show interest in agriculture, farmers often cannot afford to keep their land and equipment. They “retire” and sell — often to residential or commercial developers. The authors state that the trends in Wyoming are occurring throughout the U.S.”

Glick, Henry B. et al. Wyoming’s Aging Agricultural Landscape: Demographic Trends among Farm And Ranch Operators, 1920-2007. Rangelands. Volume 35. Issue 6. December 2014. Pages 7-14.