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2021 Sonoma County ag report: Wine production booms despite historic drought

The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures today presented to the Board of Supervisors the 2021 Sonoma County Crop Report, an annual accounting of local agricultural commodity production and gross values based on a survey of more than 1,000 Sonoma County producers.

The reported total value for 2021 of the county’s crops was $811,446,600, which represents a 19.2% increase over the 2020 crop value of $680,648,600. The report reflects the gross production values and does not account for costs such as production, processing and bringing the commodity to market. The report also does not include net farm income, rather it is intended for community use in economic development, tourism activities, financing, and identifying historical trends in local agricultural production

“The 2021 report highlights the water challenges faced by producers, including widespread shortages that in some cases require reducing operations, turning to alternative sources, and changing cultural practices,” said James Gore, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We need to recognize the hardships of adaptation to drought, climate change, and the ongoing threat of natural disaster, as we work to support a diverse and thriving agricultural industry in Sonoma County.”

Highlights from the 2021 Sonoma County crop report:

Wine grape tonnage increased 39.1% to 206,011 tons. Grape value per ton increased 51% to $2,626 per ton or $540,954,500.

Apple tonnage decreased 23% due to inclement weather during bloom and continued drought stress. Apple prices per ton decreased 11%, resulting in an overall decrease in value of 24% compared to 2020.

Livestock and poultry product values decreased 21% compared to 2020. This is attributed to a 21% decrease in organic and conventional milk production. Organic and conventional milk value per unit increased 10.8% and 13.7%, respectively.

The value of wool production decreased 47% from 2020 due to a lack of global demand for wool, including the type and quality of wool produced by commercial meat flocks.

Nursery products value increased 30% from 2020 due to a 33% increase in ornamental plant sales, a 47% increase in miscellaneous nursery plant sales, and a 52% increase in cut flower sales. Bedding plants saw a decrease of 23.5% as more individuals reduced these plantings to conserve water.

The Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner is required by state law to annually compile and report crop and livestock statistics, as well as pest exclusion, management, and eradication activities to the Board of Supervisors and the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The 2021 Sonoma County Crop Report also includes a summary of accomplishments for the county’s Agriculture, Land Stewardship, and Weights & Measures divisions within the department. Data on non-agricultural crops, such as commercial fish landings and timber harvests are also included from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Board of Equalization, respectively.

The 2021 Sonoma County Crop Report and related materials, including an addendum on cannabis and hemp production, are available here.

Sonoma County Crop Reports going back to 1928 are available here.

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