Almonds remain king in Colusa County

Almond tree beautiful tree with ripe fruits.
Almond tree beautiful tree with ripe fruits.

The 2015 Colusa County Crop Report was presented to the Colusa County Board of Supervisors last week by new Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures Gregory Hinton, and for the second straight year, almonds are the most valuable crop in Colusa County.

The gap between rice and almonds has only gotten wider.

The crop value of almonds was up nearly 50 percent over 2014. While almond acreage has increased by about 5 percent since 2014, price per ton increased by 7 percent, and production per acre rose by 34 percent. The overall crop value was $418.6 million in 2015.

The numbers in the crop report do not reflect a net return to the produce, but rather reflect the gross values of commodities.

Rice, on the other hand, has been moving in the opposite direction since 2013, when both the rice and almond crops in Colusa County were valued at about $285 million. Prices were down this year, from $440 to $326 per ton, which was a large factor in the commodity’s value dropping from about $221 million to $153 million — a decrease of about 31 percent. Additionally, there about 10,000 fewer acres planted in rice in 2015.

The gross production value for all Colusa County agriculture was about $902 million, up by 2.9 percent or about $25.4 million over 2014.

“This increase is most significantly due to an increase in acreage, production and value of almonds when compared to 2014,” Hinton wrote in his letter submitted to the board and to the state’s department of Food and Agriculture.

Following almonds and rice as the two most valuable Colusa County commodities in 2015 are tomatoes, walnuts, and cattle/calves, respectively. The top five commodities in the county accounted for $738 million of the total $902 million total value, or 82 percent.

Tomatoes (processing) supplanted bearing walnuts (English) as number three on the list, after the two swapped spots from 2014 to 2015. Both saw reductions in gross value. Cattle and calves remained the fifth most valuable commodity in Colusa County, and saw an increase in gross value of more than $600,000. ■

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net