Badlands Journal editorial board
Badlands has been consistent in writing that Merced is the largest almond-producing county in the state, nation, world and universe. Badlands is in error. According to the state Almond Board's statistics, Kern, Fresno and Stanislaus exceed Merced in almond production. Kern remains the largest producer, steady at 20 percent after 20 years. Merced and Stanislaus have diminished their slice of the pie by a few points in the last decade, while Butte has ceded place to Madera in the high single-digit category and San Joaquin County has dropped into the "all others" category since the late 1980s. The greatest increase has been in Fresno, lumped in with "all others" in 1988-1989 statistics, but last year accounting for 18 percent of the state's production.
Farm prices (per pound) in the last five years surged to a high of $2.81 in 2004-2005, but fell back to the $1.55 range, where they were in 2003-2004.
At the end of last year, total bearing almond acreage in the state stood at 615,000, non-bearing at 125,000. New plantings surged to 49,281 acres in 2005-2006, the highest number of acres recorded, and dropped back to 14,381 in 2007-2008, the lowest new-planting figure since 1992-1993. The two low figures might be related to drought.
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