California Eatin’: How California’s Food Production Feeds the Country

Posted on Aug 15 2018 - 9:50am by Business Day TV

man watering plantsCalifornia proves it’s more than a golden state; it’s also where two-thirds of the country’s food comes from.

California’s Agriculture by the Numbers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture compiled statistics about California’s agriculture. In 2016, 76,700 farms in California produced a diverse supply of agricultural products valued at more than $46 billion. It made up 13 percent of the total agricultural receipt of the United States.

According to the report, the majority of California’s revenue came from the dairy industry, followed by grapes and almonds. Speaking of almonds, California is considered to be its sole producer in the United States. Apart from almonds, California is also considered the country’s sole producer of walnuts, pistachios, plums, raisins, figs, olives, artichokes, kiwi fruits, dates, pomegranates, garlic and sweet rice.

Agriculture makes up only 2 percent of California’s economy, but the largest for any state. It also contributed 12.5 percent of the total agricultural production in the entire country.

Economic Impact of California’s Agriculture

If California somehow loses its ability to grow crops as it does now, food prices would skyrocket. No other state can match California’s food production. Because of this, there are many food production jobs in California.

In Modesto, the home of the largest winery in the world, for instance, food production is essential since California produces a lot of grapes that are used in wine making. So, food processing companies need to hire people to take the state’s agricultural products from the farm to the table. It means employment increase is another factor that agriculture positively affects.

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Although the narrow definition of California’s agricultural value can be considered low, its effects in related industries add to its value. Without California’s agricultural sector, the state might not be considered the fifth largest economy in the world, next to countries like the United States, China, Japan and Germany, and higher than the United Kingdom.