Economic Impact of Agriculture in Nevada County is Declining
11/07/2011 7 Comments
I have been following the economic impact of agriculture in Nevada County for several years. There has been a lot of talk on the left that we should be focusing local economic development funds to promote more organic farming and farmers markets. The left thinks that more sustainable local farming will give Nevada County an economic advantage, creating more local wealth as we shop local in year round farmers markets.
Last week the County CEO, Rick Haffey, attached the 2010 Agriculture Report by Jeffry Pylman, Agricultural Commissioner, to his weekly memo. Jeffry Pylman in his introduction to the Nevada County 2010 Annual Crop Report:
The total value of Nevada County’s 2010 agricultural crop production was $10,418,700. This amount represents a decrease of $1,922,000 from the 2009 crop value. The Timber industry had the largest decrease in value of $1,674,800 due to a decrease in demand for construction materials. Wine grape production dropped by 31 percent. Yields were significantly down, due primarily to hail and frost at critical moments. This affected growers differently in different regions of the county. Retail nursery production was significantly down which growers attributed to the downturn in the economy. Registered organic growers have increased by 37 percent, with a total increase of acres under organic certification of 47 percent. . .
All figures represent gross production values and do not take into account the cost of production, nor do they reflect a net return to the producers.
From the introduction, you might come away with the idea that 2010 was just a bad year, with construction down and bad wine grape harvest and things will get better. But, at the bottom of the report was this tabulation:
Now if we graph those numbers, we get a very disturbing picture of a downward trend.
Agriculture in Nevada County has been in decline for 8 long years. And, it looks like the growing seasons will become shorter, with late spring and early fall frost and cooler summers, like the one we had this summer.
I will be writing in a future post on my Next Grand Minimum blog about the climate impacts on wine grapes in California as the growing season gets shorter and the summers becomes much cooler. Not great wine grape growing weather.