Kern County crops climbing to top valued statewide

A Kern County orchard is seen in a KBAK/KBFX file photo.

The 2016 Kern County agriculture report was released Tuesday.

Their report shows the gross value for Kern County's agricultural commodities for 2016 at $7.2 billion, which represents a 6 percent increase from the 2015 crop value.

Glenn Fankhauser, the county's ag commissioner, said the statewide drought likely helped county crop values, since a reduction in commodity totals increases prices.

"People need to understand the value of the crop is market-driven," Fankhauser said.

Prices were down for both cherries and grapes, but the yields were so high they surged in total value.

"This is one of those things that's cyclical. It's random. We have more pistachios than our neighbors, so we really came out on top in this sense," Fankhauser said. "But It could go either way next year. Next year, milk could go crazy, and we could see Tulare (County) on top again."

In 2016, the top five crops for Kern County were grapes, almonds, citrus, pistachios and milk, which made up 60 percent of this year's total value.

The top 20 crops combined for 73 percent of 2016's total value.

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