San Diego County crop values increase for second consecutive year

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County agriculture values rose 1.6 percent to more than $1.77 billion last year, according to the county’s recently released 2017 Crop Report.

That’s the second consecutive increase, following crops values that rose 2.63 percent in 2016. Prior to that, there were two consecutive years of declining values.

About 58 percent of 2017’s total production value, roughly $1.03 billion, came from three crop types: ornamental trees and shrubs, including crepe myrtles; indoor plants like poinsettias; and garden flowers such as marigolds.

Profits were buoyed by increases of more than 20 percent in the value of lemons, vegetables and tomatoes.

Tomato values increased by 23 percent to $52.9 million, though that’s still below the $80- to $90-million averages racked up between 2009 and 2014.

Wine grape values increased 28.3 percent to $3.85 million, after two years of decline. Grape crops have become more trendy since the county approved an ordinance allowing the creation of small wineries.

Overall citrus values increased 17.6 percent to $153.4 million last year.

Cactuses and succulents, which jumped in value from $43 million in 2014 to $83 million in 2016, decreased in value to $77.4 million.

Avocados also dropped in value by 10.3 percent to roughly $122 million.

Agriculture production values have increased in seven of the last 10 years, according to the county.