California Agricultural Exports Slip in 2015

On-farm cash receipts and agricultural exports dipped for California farmers in 2015, according to the most-recent government statistics available.

Though California clearly leads the nation in on-farm cash receipts, that figure was down almost 17 percent in 2015, compared to the previous year, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Gross income by farmers and ranchers was down to $47 billion in 2015 largely due to significant declines in production because of the drought. In 2014 farmers grossed a record $54 billion for their commodities.

Not as significant by percentage changes, agricultural exports were also down in 2015, off about 4 percent from the previous year, according to the CDFA.

Still the trend has been upward as California export values since 2005 have more than doubled from $9.37 billion. California’s share of total U.S. agricultural exports in 2015 was 15.6 percent , a slight increase from the 14.4 percent
reported the previous year.

Top buyers of California food and fiber were the European Union, Canada, China and Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico and Korea.

Of these, India showed the largest increase in total export value that year of 32.2 percent. That year India showed significant increases in its purchase of walnuts (up 360 percent), cotton (up 85 percent) and processed tomatoes (up 114 percent).

Of the major commodities shipped from California to India that year, only dairy saw an increase, down almost 13 percent in value.

Of the top 15 destinations for California agricultural goods, only six bought more food and fiber than they did the year before. By percentage, exports to the Philippines were down over 27 percent. No. 1 trading partner, the EU, boosted its buying by 4.8 percent on significant increases of dates (almost 130 percent), lemons (up 36 percent), oranges (up 31 percent), wine (up over 18 percent) and almonds (up more than 13 percent).

Olives and olive oil exports to the EU were down over 75 percent.

Almonds continue to be California’s leading export item, valued at $5.14 billion in 2015. The same year California dairy exports totaled more than $1.6 billion.

By value, California’s biggest export year to date is 2013 at $21.55 billion.

The full statistics report can be viewed on the CDFA website.

Source: Todd Fitchette, Western Farm Press

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