County of Marin - News Releases - Livestock and Crop Report

For Immediate Release
July 19, 2016

County’s Agriculture Yield Jumps 10 Percent

Agricultural Commissioner’s report: Crops and livestock worth more than $111 million

San Rafael, CA – Milk continues to serve as the leader –or bell cow, if you will – among all livestock and crop yields in Marin County, accounting for 40 percent of the overall gross value of a record $111,061,000 for 2015.

A farm worker hooks a milking machine to a cow's udder at a Point Reyes ranch.Mario Garcia prepares to milk a cow at the Giacomini Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company.
Stefan Parnay, Deputy Commissioner of the Marin County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures, went over details of the 2015 Livestock and Crop Report at the July 19 regular meeting of the Marin County Board of Supervisors. He said the dollar figure was 10 percent higher than the $100,953,000 figure from 2014.

The value of conventional milk production was down significantly, but the continued surge in demand of organic milk led to an overall increase of $6,066,000 last year. Most of Marin’s 28 registered dairies have either converted to organic milk production or are in the process of converting. Pay prices for organic milk are higher for the dairies as public demand is on the increase. Organic milk production rose 61 percent between 2013 and 2014.

“This is a great annual opportunity to look at our (agricultural) successes,” said Board of Supervisors President Steve Kinsey, who as District 4 Supervisors represents the majority of Marin’s farmers and ranchers. “The transformation in Marin County to organic dairy is both a commitment to sustainability in a broader sense but also survivability from a business sense.”

Other key points in the report were:

  • Hay production, especially the organic variety, jumped 69 percent to $1.27 million. Agriculture officials said the increase was tied to need to feed the cows directly responsible for the organic milk boom as well as grass-fed beef cattle.
  • The gross value of pasture for grazing was up 18 percent to $10.94 million and was tied again to the good news with milk cows and
    beef cattle.
  • Poultry production surged by 44 percent, worth about $5.3 million. Ranchers experiencing higher returns for both eggs and poultry meat.
  • Grape production took a 51-percent dive because of weather that isn’t optimum for most vineyards. Some vintners reported no wine grape harvests at all in Marin. The overall gross value of the harvested grapes was $356,000.
  • Aquaculture revenue was down $4.2 million, or 40 percent, from the previous year. This was primarily due to the closing of one of the top shellfish producers in Marin in late 2014 when its lease was not renewed.

Marin experienced a downward trend in agricultural production from 2007 to 2009, but has been on a sharp rise ever since. The trend has continued despite four years of drought, although the weather has forced many producers to reduce herd sizes and limit the production of organic products. However, demand for local products keeps outpacing the supply, and residents of Marin and nearby counties continue to have rising interest in locally grown and raised food products.

Contact:

Stefan Parnay
Deputy Commissioner/Deputy Director
Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures

1682 Novato Blvd.
Suite 150-A
Novato, CA 94947
(415) 473-6700
Email: Stefan Parnay
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