Marine agriculture saw a slight increase in value last year

Marin’s annual Crops and Livestock Report showed that the county’s agricultural producers have largely weathered the pandemic and drought, but the next few years could paint a different picture. The gross value of agricultural production last year increased by about 4 percent from the previous year, reaching nearly $ 102 million. It was the first time that the total value of Marin’s agricultural products exceeded $ 100 million since 2015, when it reached a record high of over $ 111 million. Dry conditions were largely responsible for the slowdown that occurred between the two, and the county is now in the throes of another severe drought, making the future uncertain. “Our producers are used to change and having to constantly adapt and innovate, and 2020 has tested their resilience, determination and adaptability,” Agriculture Commissioner Stefan Parnay told the supervisory board last week. Mr Parnay said the biggest effects of the severe drought are unlikely to show up in the crop report for a year or two. The value of cattle increased 9% to about $ 1,100 per head, but the increase is “very misleading,” he said. Herders are downsizing their herds this year as drought conditions worsen and the practice of food and water trucking becomes unsustainable. Older cattle are going to be slaughtered and younger cattle are flooding the market, driving down prices and making it difficult for ranchers to recoup their costs. “They are not getting roughly what they would have got a year ago,” he said. The situation will be particularly dire by 2022, he said, unless the per capita price reappears, an unlikely prospect. “Pastoralists face the changes and situations that arise on a daily basis, but drought is a much bigger problem,” Mr. Parnay said. Organic milk, the county’s largest agricultural product, saw its value increase by 11 percent, reaching more than $ 36 million in total. But herd reductions will also dent dairy values ​​in the years to come, and Mr Parnay has suggested that the closure of historic McClure Dairy, one of six on Point Reyes National Shoreline, would also have an impact. impact. The value of conventional milk has declined slightly, but it represents only a tenth of the county’s milk production. A few products have significantly lost value over the past year. Aquaculture, synonymous with West Marin’s oyster industry, lost nearly half of its value in 2020, with the pandemic to blame. Hog Island Oyster Company and Tomales Bay Oyster Company, the county’s two main oyster producers, saw their business collapse when restaurants closed during shutdowns last year. In next year’s report, Mr Parnay said “aquaculture should pick up where it left off”. Marin’s relatively small wine industry also struggled after the Woodward fire last August, as the handful of wineries near the waterfront were forced to leave smoke-damaged grapes clinging to the vines. Point Reyes Vineyards owner Steve Doughty said he lost 100% of his harvest after the fire. The values ​​of wine grapes fell 31 percent. “A year from now, we will know and understand a lot more about the impact of the current drought on producers,” Parnay told supervisors. “I am more concerned about the long term impacts and the viability of our livestock and crop industries. Much work will be done over the coming months and years to build resilience to drought in our local agricultural production systems. “

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