Our big Imperial County Region had a record year of Ag production value in 2013 of more than 2 billion dollars.
â€œItâ€™s the first time that we ever hit the 2 billion dollar mark. We hit 2.158 billion dollars this year in production value,â€ said Linsey Dale, Executive Director of the Imperial County Farm Bureau. Dale is based in El Centroâ€”the county seat of Imperial County.
â€œWe had a bump in price of cattle last year, we had a bump in the price of some of our forage crops last year, and our onion market went up a bit, broccoli market went up a bit, so there were several different crops that had an increase in price in 2013 over 2012,â€ said Dale.
Dale says that agriculture drives the economy in Imperial County. â€œWe are the single biggest private employer in Imperial County, agriculture is. It has been since day one and will continue to be. If we lose agriculture here in Imperial County we will lose Imperial Valley. We have thousands and thousands of jobs in farm service providers and in production agriculture, its a tremendous impact,â€ said Dale.
Dale noted that Imperial County, through the Imperial Irrigation District, has some of the strongest water rights in the state. â€œWe do have a very strong water rights. Water is a key issue for us here, we have very little rainfall, less than 2 inches per year. All of our water comes from the Colorado river, so with drought conditions here in California currently, consuming areas are looking at us to produce the fruits and vegetables needed for the nation, especially during the winter months,â€ Dale said.
â€œWe produce crops 365 days a year, some of our fields actually have three crop rotations. We get cuttings on alfalfa year-round, and again we have that strong water right that is necessary to be able to grow these crops,â€ said Dale.