2021 SLO County Crop Report Released

September 23, 2022

The San Luis Obispo County Crop Report for 2021 has been released by San Luis Obispo County Agriculture/Weights and Measures Department. 2021 Crop values recorded for San Luis Obispo County reached a record high of $1,081,952,000 (total gross value), an approximate 10% increase over 2020. This is the second time that agricultural values in the county have exceeded the billion-dollar mark. The overall market for agricultural goods was strong during 2021. Fruit and nut crops bolstered the overall county crop value with a

record year. Vegetable crops along with nursery products remained relatively stable while field crops and livestock producers experienced a decline in value.


The top ten commodities ranked by value in 2021 were:

1. Strawberries

2 Wine Grapes

3. Avocados

4. Broccoli

5. Cattle and Calves

6. Vegetable Transplants

7. Cauliflower

8. Head Lettuce

9. Lemons

10. Cut Flowers


Animal Industry

Ongoing drought conditions continue to impact the animal industry. Cattle were sold at lower weights due to the lack of natural forage and high cost of supplemental feed. Although prices were higher, the overall value of the Animal Industry decreased by 7.3% ending the year at $43.1 million. 45,253 head of cattle were sold in 2021, which is a 3.6% decrease from 2020.


Field Crops

The value of field crops decreased by 26% due to extremely dry conditions. Field crops are primarily dry farmed and dependent on annual rainfall rather than irrigation. With very little rainfall during the year, hundreds of acres of field crops were left unharvested. The value of field crops at year’s end was $14,889,000 or $5.3 million lower than 2020.


Fruit and Nut Crops

The fruit and nut category hit a record high of $713.9 million or 18.3% above 2020. Strawberries were the #1 crop with a value of $319.9 million. Wine grapes were the #2 crop with a value of $281.5 million. Strawberries and wine grapes make up over 55% of the total crop value in the county.  Avocados and lemons also ended the year substantially higher at $57.7 million and $18.6 million, respectively.


Nursery Products

The nursery industry remained relatively stable. Additional marketing opportunities have opened with decreased competition from foreign competitors. e industry is still challenged by labor shortages and rapidly changing product demands. The value of nursery products in 2021 was $76.5 million or 0.8% above 2020.


Vegetable Crops

Vegetable values were up slightly on the year with a total value of $233.5 million. Growers commented that favorable growing conditions contributed to good production and high-quality crops. Broccoli, cauliflower, and head lettuce represent the County’s highest value vegetable crops and remain within the overall top 10. Some vegetable producers experienced challenges including price instability and increasing input costs.

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