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How do we promote ag by the numbers?


San Joaquin Valley growers gross billions of dollars from the commodities they produce.

I came across a couple crop reports from California’s Central Valley, and the numbers are amazing.

Fresno County, which remains America’s most prolific county in terms of total ag production, produced more than $6.58 billion in agricultural commodities in 2012. Fresno’s record year of 2011 was revised to more than $6.8 billion.

About an hour north of Fresno County sits Stanislaus County, where their agricultural value reached a record $3.27 billion in gross farm receipts in 2012. As always, the disclaimer is made that these values have no bearing on profits to the grower or producer. Still, these numbers are staggering, no matter how you spin it or look at it.

I’ve long been impressed with these numbers and as a journalist can spend hours writing about and parsing the numbers. I recently had an interesting conversation with someone in the ag industry who suggested that statistics like this do not resonate with consumers and other non-agricultural entities when pitching the value of agriculture to a populace that does not know what it takes to put high quality food on their plate.

As a result, I am open to suggestions. What should American agriculture’s message be to the voting populace who seems to take for granted the vast supply of food and fiber they have easy access to? How do we help them understand the importance of American agriculture to our lives? I can be reached at

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Mary Orcutt (not verified)
on Jul 29, 2013

How about compare what the cost would be in 5 other countries for the same plate of food or what's on the food pyramid? Our $$ spent for food is way less than many other countries because of a variety of reasons....

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