Agriculture in Merced and Madera Counties
Merced and Madera Counties are located in the San Joaquin Valley region of California's Central Valley. Together, the counties cover more than 4000 square miles of land extending from the eastern side of the Sierra Mountains to the eastern slopes of the Diablo Range and are home to more than 400,000 residents.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) recently released statistics review (https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/statistics/) reports that California led the nation in 2017 agricultural cash receipts ($50 billion) followed by Iowa ($27 billion), Texas ($23 billion), Nebraska ($21 billion), and Minnesota ($17 billion). California's (CA) top commodities were dairy ($6.6 billion, up 8.2% from the previous year), grapes ($5.8 billion, up 3.1%), and almonds ($5.6 billion, up 10.9%), followed by berries, cattle and calves, lettuce, walnuts, tomatoes, pistachios, and broilers. With respect to agronomic commodities, hay (all) and cotton (all) were ranked 13th ($758 million) and 18th ($475 million), respectively. Compared to the rest of the United States (US), California was ranked first in the nation for hay value (CA share of US receipts: 11.9%) and third in the nation for cotton lint value (CA share of US receipts: 7%).
The top agricultural county in the state was Kern ($7.3 billion), followed by Tulare ($7.0 billion), Fresno ($7.0 billion), Monterey ($4.4 billion), Stanislaus ($3.6 billion), Merced ($3.4 billion), San Joaquin ($2.5 billion), Ventura ($2.1 billion), Kings ($2.1 billion), and Imperial ($2.1 billion); Madera County ranked 11th ($2.0 billion). Merced County's leading commodities were: milk, almonds, chickens, and cattle and calves; Madera County's leading commodities were almonds, milk, pistachios, and wine grapes. Within California, and with respect to agronomic crops, Merced is the second leading county (behind Imperial) for alfalfa hay value ($115 million) and third (behind Kings and Fresno) for cotton lint ($78 million). Merced county is also ranked third for silage ($128 million), fifth for grain corn ($8 million) and irrigated pasture ($5 million) and sudan hay ($3 million), and first for grain hay ($17 million).