Sutter County’s agricultural production bounced back in 2017 after five years of drought, and despite complications caused by historic rains in late winter and early spring, according to the 2017 Crop and Livestock Report released today.
Agricultural Commissioner Lisa Herbert said the 2017 gross production value of approximately $584 million is evidence Sutter County agriculture continues to thrive despite the weather challenges. It was the third highest gross production value estimated since 2010.
Despite a drop in acreage planted due to late rains, rice remained the top-ranking crop in 2017 with a slight increase in yield and price to a total value of $152 million. Walnuts increased in value nearly 10 percent due to higher acreage and price, rising to $130 million. Prunes increased in value by 113 Percent to $52 million. For more detail, here’s the full report.
Agriculture remains a keystone industry in Sutter County, directly employing in excess of 8,000 people in any given year. It has been this way ever since John Sutter created the first large scale agricultural enterprise in Sutter County prior to the Gold Rush. Agriculture is also one of the state’s largest industries.
As the 2017 Sutter County Crop and Livestock Report points out, a lot of credit goes to the University of California Cooperative Extension, which this year is celebrating 100 years of assistance to farmers in Sutter and Yuba counties.
The Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County conducted a great deal of research into the 100-year history of the Agricultural Extension and discovered that the UC Cooperative Extension has been helping to solve agricultural industry problems from its beginnings. They’ve tested new crops–they abandoned cotton as a failure here in 1926–conducted demonstrations on proper tree pruning practices, advocated for the establishment of an adequate system of rural roads, and have played pivotal roles in pest management, best irrigation management practices, and orchard nutrition. In 1927 they placed bees in almond orchards and yields increased by 158 percent. Varieties developed by the UC Cooperative Extension make up 85 percent of California’s walnut industry. Seven years after introducing safflower in 1950, more safflower was grown in Sutter County than any other in the United States.
You may know the UC Cooperative Extension as the farm and 4-H advisors, or the Master Gardeners, or nutrition educators. In 1974, the UC Cooperative Extension offices in Yuba and Sutter counties were combined and they are located in the same building as our Agricultural Department on Garden Highway. Both organizations do very important work for agriculture and our economy.