County agriculture revenues top $316M

Crop report for 2017 shows increase over 2016

The 2017 Santa Clara County Crop Report released Aug. 31 showed total county production and revenues valued at $316.5 million, a 2 percent increase from 2016.

“It is great to see another crop report grow to even higher values than previous years. I like to think of it as a testament to the county’s commitment to our farming community,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, who represents Morgan Hill and Gilroy. “Supervisor Cortese and I are excited to continue making a positive impact through the implementation of the Valley Ag Plan.”

The county’s top producers for 2017 were nursery crops ($82,951,000), mushrooms ($74,659,000), lettuce ($17,522,000), spinach ($14,616,000), and bell peppers ($13,264,000).  In 2017, 21 different agricultural commodities grown in Santa Clara County exceeded $1 million in crop value.

Commodities that now produce more than $1 million in revenues are cherries, seed crops and timber. Those that fell from the listing include celery, cut flowers, and hay and grain.

“As Santa Clara County has evolved with Silicon Valley, the county’s agricultural roots continue to thrive and prosper,” said Joe Deviney, county commissioner of agriculture. “2017 marked a second consecutive year of increased revenues. Our agricultural future is bright. Agriculture from Santa Clara County continues to feed the region and the world.”

The 2017 crop report highlights the unique history of Asian vegetables in Santa Clara County. There are currently about 80 Asian vegetable farms in Santa Clara County that continue to be cultivated and harvested by hand. Most of these farms are still family-run and small, usually 10 acres or less. Asian vegetables brought in $8,876,000 last year, making them the county’s ninth most lucrative crop.

“I am very proud of our community and respectful of the work done every day. We work so hard and produce many wonderful nutritious vegetables,” said Jenny Li of Shun Fat Nursery. “Most buyers prefer local farm goods rather than importing from outside of the Bay Area. It is important to keep agriculture local.”

The Asian community has played an important role in the valley’s agriculture history, with Gordon Chan, the first Chinese-American president of the Santa Clara Farm Bureau, helping lead the way. Chrysanthemums were among the county’s largest agricultural products through the 1960s, but have now given way to staples including bok choy, celery leaf and mustard greens.

“It was delightful to see the Asian farming community highlighted in this year’s report,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. “Especially the tribute to Gordon Chan, a truly great leader who contributed so much to the community.”

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