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A century of abundance

May/June 2019 California Bountiful magazine

Celebrating 100 years of contributions from California farm families



Organized in 1919, this year marks a century that the California Farm Bureau Federation has represented the state's family farmers and ranchers. Back then, California was already a leading agricultural state. Here's a look at what's changed and what hasn't in the last 100 years.

THEN: In 1919, California ranked 11th in the
nation for crop value. By 1920, we were 2nd.

NOW: California has been the No. 1
agricultural state since the late 1940s.

THEN: California already had the greatest
diversity of crops in the nation by 1919.

NOW: Still true, and California is the leading
U.S. producer of 75 commodities.

THEN: Los Angeles was the top agricultural
county in the nation, with oranges, lemons,
hay and forage, and walnuts listed as top
crops.

NOW: Kern County leads the nation, with
table grapes, almonds, milk and pistachios
as top crops.                                                    

THEN: California was the top vegetable-
growing state in 1919 and California-grown
vegetables were found in all of America's
large cities.

NOW: The state still leads today, with 57% 
of the nation's production of vegetables and
melons.                                                 

THEN: Butter was the top dairy product for
the state, and Stanislaus County was the top
dairy producer.

NOW: California is the leading dairy state in
the nation, with Tulare the top-producing
county.

THEN: Grapes were the state's top fruit, and
Fresno County was the world's greatest
raisin-producing center in 1919.

NOW: Grapes remain a top crop, and
California is the nation's sole producer of
raisins.

THEN: In 1919, 3/4 of the nuts—mostly
walnuts and almonds—grown in the U.S.
came from California.

NOW: Nearly all the nation's almonds,
walnuts and pistachios are grown in
California.

In 1919, as today, California was an agricultural powerhouse driven by the hard work and passion of family farmers and ranchers. The California Farm Bureau Federation has served and represented them for a century, working to improve the well-being and quality of life for farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Here's to the next 100 bountiful years together.

Sources: "The Evolution of California Agriculture 1850-2000," by Alan L. Olmstead and Paul W. Rhode, in California Agriculture: Dimensions and Issues; Statistical Report of the California State Board of Agriculture For the Year 1919, 1921; California Agricultural Statistics Review 2017-2018, California Department of Food and Agriculture

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