July 29, 2021
Ventura, California – The year 2020 has highlighted several elements regarding the importance of agriculture to Ventura County. The COVID 19 pandemic has underscored how vulnerable and extraordinarily essential the 40,000 hardworking people who faithfully continued to come to work are not only the residents of Ventura, but people around the world. They have kept food, clothing, landscaping, and farming systems in motion despite many new challenges and changes in our society. They did all of this with a concern not only about how to provide food and shelter for their families, but also to keep them safe thanks to rapidly changing working and social conditions.
Our report this year presents the diverse stories of women in agriculture in Ventura County. Women who cultivate, run a farm, connect farm laborers with resources, defend the rights of farm laborers, distribute wholesale produce, run farmer’s markets, provide agricultural education, contract farm labor , provide housing for agricultural labor, oversee food safety, provide legal advice, provide pest management advice, conduct agricultural research, and protect industry, the public and the environment by regulating ‘Agriculture.
With restaurant closings and grocery store restrictions in 2020, the farming community and distributors have had to scramble to change marketing practices and for some the type of products they grow. Some of these changes are reflected in crop values and production figures.
Strawberries are still number one
The estimated gross value of agriculture in Ventura County for the 2020 calendar year is $ 1,985,365,000. This represents a decrease of 0.2% from 2019. Strawberries were again the number one crop with $ 575,373,000, up 13.0%. Lemons came back in second place with a value of $ 216,190,000, an increase of 2.0%. Nursery stock dropped to third place with a value of $ 193,135,000, up 3.0%. Tomatoes remained in seventh place with a value of $ 54,387,000, up 17.0%. Peppers moved up to eighth place with a value of $ 41,165,000, but was down 4.0%.
Big changes in the top ten
Lawyers moved to fourth place with a value of $ 179,727,000, up 54.0%. Raspberries dropped to fifth place with a value of $ 141,547,000, down 30.0%. Celery dropped to sixth place with a value of $ 126,870,000, down 48.0%. Blueberries entered the top ten for the first time, ranking ninth at a value of $ 38,781,000, with a whopping 119.0% increase!