Crop Value Falls Short Of Estimate
By Ines Bebea
FAIRFIELD - The gross value of Solano County's crop production decreased by $5,184,600 last year after three weather-related events affected the 2006 estimate.
According to the annual Crop & Livestock report issued by the Solano County Department of Agriculture, the New Year's floods, late spring rains and record summer heat in 2006 caused production to decline by 2.2 percent.
Although the value fell below the projected estimate of $233,505,000, it has steadily increased over the past five years. Of the 80 crops and commodities grown in the county, nursery stock remained No. 1 in value at $47,856,000. It was followed by cattle, calves and alfalfa.
"We have a growing number of diversified crops throughout the county," said Jearl Howard, agricultural commissioner of weights and measures for the Solano County Department of Agriculture. "As farmers continue to diversify their crops to insure themselves and continue to stay in business, we may also in the future be able to produce crops used for alternative forms of energy."
Howard said the county currently does not have the necessary infrastructure to support alternative fuel methods, but he added that as interests and potential in that industry grow, the agricultural economy could benefit. Another area in which the agricultural economy may grow is with processing and manufacturing plants. Currently, only tomatoes and lamb are processed in the county.
"The more opportunity the crop finds in the county, the better it is for the farmer and the economy," said Mike Reagan, chairman of the Solano County Board of Supervisors. "Roughly, there could be about $600,000,000 that are going out of the county when we ship out the product and don't process it here."
Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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