Rice rebound is a good sign for Placer County farmers

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 1:46pm

A few months ago, we restarted the Placer Title Company blog with a post on the 2018 Agriculture Trends Report, which used data from the 2017 farming season. Agriculture has always been integral to the Placer County way of life, and we know it will continue to be so in the future. If you’re looking to buy or sell any farmland here in Placer County – or anywhere else in California – Placer Title can be the experts you trust to guide you through your deal with care.

Since Placer Title published that first post, more information has been released about the local agriculture landscape, so we wanted to share that news. In August, county officials released the 2017 Placer County Crop Report. The results were a mixed bag for local farmers. On the good side, cattle were valued at almost $10 million in 2017, an increase of more than $1.5 million compared to the prior year. Total value of nursery plants and timber in the county also greatly increased compared to 2016, according to the report.

However, those gains were overshadowed last year by a very small rice crop, which contributed to an 11 percent drop in the county’s overall crop value from last year, despite the gains made by the other commodities mentioned above. In total, crops and agricultural products were worth more than $58 million in Placer County in 2017.

Just how big is the rice crop typically? Last year was the first time in more than a decade that rice was not Placer County’s highest valued commodity. At $8.3 million, last year’s haul was ranked third-highest crop in overall value, behind cattle, and nursery plants. In 2016, the rice crop was valued at more than $12.6 million, so that’s a huge drop off.  But it doesn’t appear to be any cause for long-term alarm. Because of normal rains this spring, rice farmers were able to plant around the normal acreage of rice in 2018.

After the county report was released, District 2 County Supervisor Robert Weygandt made sure that he highlighted some of the “encouraging news” the report contained. Officials blamed the small rice harvest on not only the large amount of rain we got last year but also the fact that some of the county’s rice fields have been converted to nut tree orchards. (Trees which won’t produce any yield for a few more years.) That means that even without the rains, there would’ve likely been a small decrease in last year’s rice crop value anyway.

There is good news so far in 2018. Though it’s too early to predict what values will be, Ed King, the county’s deputy agricultural commissioner, said that there was more than 13,000 acres of rice planted in Placer County this season. That, King said, represented a rebound from 2017’s small crop and is level consistent with recent annual plantings before last year. King made sure to mention that the county has almost 4,000 acres of young walnut and almond orchards that will gradually be producing high-value crops over the next few years. (Last year, walnuts were the fifth-most valued commodity in the county at almost $5 million, so it’s great knowing that number should continue to increase in the coming years!)  

Placer Title Company is the expert you need and the partner you can trust for any farmland transaction or other type of real estate deal. Contact us today!