Almonds Become 2nd Most Valuable Agricultural Commodity

Beating grapes for the first time
US (CA): Almonds now 2nd Ag commodity

Almonds were the second most valuable agricultural commodity, after milk, in California in 2011, surpassing grapes for the first time ever, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Almonds generated $3.87 billion worth of economic activity in 2011, whilst grapes were valued only slightly lower at $3.86 billion.

In 2010 grapes were valued at $3.2 billion, whilst almonds were in third place, worth $2.84 billion.

Almonds are grown in the Central Valley over 760,000 acres of cultivation, generating around 2 billion pounds of nuts per year.

Steve Lyle. CDFA spokesman says both grapes and almonds are producing strongly, but will probably be in competition for second place in the years to come.

In Merced County, where almonds have been the second leading commodity for some time, the industry last year generated $397 million, up from $287 million in 2010.

The California Almond Commodity Board has successfully marketed the nut to the world, said David Doll, a farm adviser with the UC Cooperative Extension in Merced.

“It’s one thing to be able to produce a big crop,” he said. “It’s another to be able to sell that crop and make money.”

Industry insiders says there is still room for growth.

“Even with this record production, we have more demand than we have supply,” said Bob Curtis, associate director of agricultural affairs with the Almond Board. “The driver behind that is nutrition studies that show almonds are a healthy food and snack.”

Source: mercedsunstar.com

Publication date: 10/31/2012