In Sutter County, you can see much of the main industry in action. It’s not hidden behind manufacturing walls, it’s in plain sight, under the sun. You can see it from the window of your home or the window of your car. You can smell it in the evening as products ripen on the tree or the vine.
Today, Sutter County Agricultural Commissioner Lisa Herbert is releasing the 2016 Crop and Livestock Report. (You can view it here: https://suttercounty.org/contents/pdf/ag/CropReports/2016_Crop_Report.pdf)
While 2016 was a down year, led primarily by a devastating 54 percent loss of production in prunes, the report highlights the significance of the total value of agricultural production in Sutter County: $514 million.
Rice remained the number one agricultural product in Sutter County in 2016. There was a significant increase in rice production due to access to more water in 2016, and total rice production was valued at $127 million. In second place, higher acreage and yields led to a 53 percent increase in the value of walnuts, which was $119 million. Peaches, nursery products, tomatoes, and almonds took up the third through sixth positions.
Which brings us back to prunes. Significant rainfall, high winds and low temperatures in March devastated the Sutter County prune crop, and it fell from third place to seventh in the crop production report. Prunes remain a strong Sutter County product, however. We are reminded in an article in the crop report on the founding of the Sunsweet growers co-op in 1917 that the first prune tree was planted in California in 1850.
One of the highlights of the crop report each year is the page listing the number of countries (91) and the number of American states (40) to which Sutter County agricultural products are shipped.