EL CENTRO — Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner Carlos Ortiz presented the 2020 Crop Report to the Imperial County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, August 10, where they officially accepted the reporting from the year of COVID-19.
The report is a summary of acreage, yield, and gross value of agricultural production in Imperial County for 2020 and includes a two-page report on sustainable agriculture pursuant to California code. Imperial County ranked number nine in 2019 throughout the State. Imperial County was also the sole producer of sugar beets; is the number one producer of cattle and calves, alfalfa hay, sweet corn, Sudan hay, and alfalfa seed; and is among the top two producers of lettuce, broccoli, carrots, spinach, vegetable and vinecrop, and dates.
In the commissioner’s letter, Ortiz addresses the theme for the 2020 Crop Report — Cultural Pioneers — where the report signifies appreciation and respect for the diverse backgrounds of Imperial County’s cultural pioneers and their initial contributions that helped shaped the County into one of the most agriculturally productive areas of the world.
Gross production for 2020 was valued at about $2,026,427,000, which is an increase of about $10,000 compared to the 2019 gross value. Ortiz said the increase was mainly due to an increase in market price for some vegetables and melon crops and fruit and nut crops. Vegetables such as leaf lettuce, sweet corn, head lettuce, Romaine lettuce, and spinach saw a significant increase in price, as well as melon crops and dates.
Cattle continues to steal the spotlight as the top commodity with a gross value of $427,087,000, which is a 4.88% decrease from 2019. This was due to a 5.92% decrease in market price. Alfalfa remained number two, and, due to better market prices, sweet corn moved from number 16 to the number four spot.
Total harvested acres saw a decrease of about 33,180 acres. Watermelon saw the second largest decrease of harvested acres, with head lettuce having the first largest decrease in harvested acres.
In the department’s sustainable agriculture section of the report, pest detection trapping and surveying was discussed. No additional action was needed against the glassy-winged sharpshooter, red imported fire ants, or Asian Citrus Psyllid.
Regarding exporting and trade, California was once again the country’s largest producer and exporter, with 28% of its total agricultural production volume being exported. California was the sole producer and supplier for 99% of almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, garlic, kiwifruit, olives and olive oil, pistachios, prunes, raisins, table grapes, tomatoes for processing, and walnuts.
“Thank you to all the growers, processors, industry groups, and agencies who provided the information and statistics for this report; your help in this effort is truly appreciated,” said Ortiz in the letter.