Today, all Tulare County’s citrus varieties are generating more revenue compared to past years. Even more so, the total value of all citrus grown in the county now rivals the value of milk production there. The latest Tulare County Crop Report published in 2020 analyzed 2019’s production and set milk’s value at $1.62 billion, down slightly from 2018. By contrast, the value of all citrus production here was $1.67 billion in 2019.
Milk may be Tulare County’s claim to fame—considered to be the leading agricultural commodity in Tulare County. Despite all those positives, milk prices have been heading south for some time. In 2019, production fell by 11%. The value of milk in the 2015 Crop Report was $1.71 billion—as of 2019 it was down to $1.61 billion, and expected to go lower in 2020.
By comparison, milk production in Tulare County was valued at $2.5 billion in 2014. That year was a high for the Tulare dairy sector who received $2.5 billion based on an average of $22 per hundredweight (Cwt) for milk. By 2019 dairymen received just $16.30 per Cwt.
Once a novelty, mandarins (tangerines) grown in Tulare County was a small, $14 million industry back in 1994. By 2015 tangerine production reached $191 million with thousands of acres of new trees being planted. By 2019 it was a $550 million category-approaching navels. Spurring the popularity of this fruit is a new variety ripening every month, many in the easy-peel category. This year US production of mandarins is forecast up 5% to 882,000 metric tons says USDA, due to a larger crop in California. Because the tangy fruit is so popular domestically record imports are also expected this year.
According to thesungazette.com¸ another citrus that has grown in popularity in Tulare County is lemons—once considered mostly a coastal fruit. Lemon production in the county has grown from $88 million in 2015 to $191 million in 2019.
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