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San Diego County Farmers Grow A More Valuable Crop

Aired 8/5/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego County's agricultural bounty swelled by 4 percent last year, continuing an upward trend.

— Last year was a good year for many San Diego farmers as the value of crops grown in the county rose nearly 4 percent.

Jellaluna

It was also the first year since 2008 that the total acreage dedicated to farming increased. The 1 percent increase meant 3,000 more acres were farmed.

The county's annual crop report finds ornamental trees and shrubs held the biggest slice of the county's $1.75 billion agricultural bounty. That crop was worth $387 million. Nursery and cut flower products represent about 63 percent of the county's farm products.

County Supervisor Greg Cox said the region's farmers represent the fifth-largest segment of the local economy, and he was pleasantly surprised that the industry is doing well.

"A lot of people feel like, you know, San Diego is getting over developed," he said. "And yeah, we are getting more and more people that are here, and yet it's kind of interesting to see that we have a greater number of acres of farmland production here in San Diego County this year than we did last year."

While the overall crop report was positive, not all farmers thrived. The value of the avocado crop was down sharply last year. Farm Bureau officials said high water prices forced many local growers to cut back the size of their avocado groves.

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