Led by a surge in the dairy sector, California agriculture saw a 15 percent gain in the sales value of its products in 2007, according to a report issued today by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and Economic Research Service. The state’s 75,000 farms and ranches received a record $36.6 billion for their output last year, up from $31.8 billion in receipts for 2006. The previous high was reached in 2005 when sales totaled $32.4 billion.

California’s largest-in-the-nation dairy industry saw a major recovery in 2007 from the depressed milk prices that plagued it a year earlier. Dairy producers received $7.33 billion for their milk production during 2007 compared with $4.49 billion during 2006. The state’s dairy farms increased milk output 4.8 percent in 2007, while the price producers received rose from $11.58 to $18.03 per hundred pounds of milk sold. The Golden State produced 22 percent of the milk in the U.S. last year, with most of it used to make cheese and butter.

A total of nine California products exceeded $1 billion in receipts for 2007. A combination of stronger prices and higher production resulted in eight of the nine registering an increase in value from the previous year.

The only exception was the almond crop, which, based on preliminary grower prices, is down 6 percent in value despite a record large crop. Final grower returns could change the sales value for almonds or other commodities, resulting in an updated dollar amount in next year’s report.

More information on California’s cash receipts from farm marketings is located at www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FarmIncome/.