The Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office presented the 2011 Sonoma County Agricultural Crop report and department summary to the Board of Supervisors on June 19. The total gross value of agricultural commodities produced in Sonoma County in 2011 was $581,031,700 which represents a 1.7% decrease from the 2010 value. This decrease in value was attributed to a 9.8% decrease in fruit and nut crops, which was driven primarily by our county’s winegrapes. Average price for all reported winegrape varieties was up 3.6% and total tonnage of winegrapes was down more than 13%. The apiary industry also showed a decrease of 20.1% from 2010 due primarily to cool spring weather, fewer hives, and a lack of pollen.
There was a 7.8% increase in livestock and poultry values for a total value of approximately $62 million dollars. In addition, livestock and poultry products such as eggs and milk were up 20.4% from 2010. This was due primarily to an increase in the price for market and manufacturing milk. It was another good year for apple production as growers experienced bumper crop yields and better prices per ton, leading to a 30% increase in the value of these crops. Other highlights from the 2011 Crop Report include; the value of nursery products increased by 6.8% and vegetable returns increased by 15.3%.
We would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to all of our agricultural practitioners whose participation facilitates the production of this report. Sonoma County is a beautiful place where people value the local bounty of our agrarian landscape. It is with pride that we at the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office present the 2011 Agricultural Crop Report. A copy of the 2011 crop report is available at http://www.sonoma-county.org/agcomm/crop_report.htm.
Each year the Crop Report features a different facet of Sonoma County agriculture. This year’s report focuses on Sonoma County Local Foods. With the increasing cost of fuel and increasing awareness of the impacts of our food choices on the environment, locally produced foods have become a beacon in our search for sustainability. This years’ crop report is dedicated to Jess Stonestreet Jackson, a self-made entrepreneur and pioneer in the Sonoma County wine industry. In addition, this report was been produced in memory of Joseph Gray. Joseph worked for the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office for 15 years, where he worked his way up the ranks to Deputy Agricultural Commissioner and will be missed by all of us.
Certified Farmers Markets
In 1977 responding to producer’s interests, the California Department of Food and Agriculture established regulations that allowed for the operation of certified farmers markets. The regulations allow certified producers to be exempt from standards for packing and containers, allowing them to market their agricultural commodities directly to the consumer.
Sonoma County currently has eighteen certified farmers’ market locations, which are approved yearly by the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. Each market is issued a market certificate by the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office that is good for twelve months. Each market has to submit their market rules and regulations to the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, along with a map of the market layout. Certified markets can be operated by certified producers, a government agency or a non-profit organization.
In order for a grower to sell in the certified section of a farmers’ market, they must first apply for a Certified Producer’s Certificate (CPC) issued by the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office in the county where they grow their crops. The following crops/produce can be certified and listed on the growers’ CPC: eggs, honey, nursery stock, cut flowers, fruit, nuts, and vegetables. Currently, CPCs issued in Sonoma County expires on December 31 of each year, and cost $67.00.
Non-certifiable agricultural products can also be sold in the certified section of a farmers’ market. These products are agricultural products that are derived from plants or animals that are raised or produced by the seller. Some examples of non-certifiable agricultural products are olives, pickles, livestock and livestock products, poultry and poultry products, jams, wine, olive oil, roasted and salted almonds and pistachios, as well as catfish, trout and oysters from aquaculture operations. In 2011, the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office issued 160 CPCs.
Biologists from the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office conduct periodic inspections at each of the markets operating in Sonoma County. These inspections include: checking for a posted, current and embossed CPC from the county of issuance, assuring that products being offered for sale are in season and are listed on the CPC, that the produce meets quality and maturity standards, and that their scale is operational and has a current seal.
Sonoma County certified farmers’ market locations with dates and times of operation, market manager contact and website information can be found on the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s website under “List of Sonoma County Certified Farmers’ Markets, Locations, Hours, and Individual Market Rules,” http://www.sonoma-county.org/agcomm/farmers_mkts.htm. Applications to become a certified producer can also be found on our website, along with an information packet for growers, http://www.sonoma-county.org/agcomm/pdf/farmers_market/cpc_packet.pdf.
European Grapevine Moth (EGVM) Update
As of May 30, 2012, no European Grapevine Moths have been caught in the monitoring traps in Sonoma County. County and state personnel will continue to survey for the presence of EGVM by placing and servicing approximately 8,000 traps through October of this year. County staff will also conduct inspections during the harvest to ensure that quarantine regulations are being followed to stop the spread of EGVM.
The deregulation plan calls for treatment of vineyards that are within 500 meters of an EGVM find. These areas of Sonoma County had their first treatments for EGVM during the month of May. Growers had a three week period beginning in early May to target the larvae of the first generation moths. The second generation applications are expected to occur at the end of June and continue through early July. Growers with questions regarding EGVM treatment program should call our office to be put in touch with Shelly Mochizuki, the Grower Liaison for Sonoma County.
California Department of Food and Agriculture personnel started urban and residential treatments in key areas in Sonoma County in mid-May. Residents are being offered the options of flower/fruit removal or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) sprays. As of May 30, 2012 60 moths have been found in Napa County, the only county where EGVM has been detected in 2012.
Now is the time to be vigilant! Equipment used for vineyard maintenance and harvesting in a vineyard within an EGVM quarantine area are required to be thoroughly cleaned of all EGVM host material and debris prior to leaving the vineyard. Before bringing equipment from any EGVM quarantine area into your vineyard, be sure that it has been cleaned of all EGVM host material. Sonoma County growers have put out a tremendous effort to battle this pest; so don’t let European Grapevine Moth catch a ride into your vineyard!
Shipping Winegrapes Out of Sonoma County In 2012
If you will be shipping winegrapes out of state, out of the US, or any place out of the Light Brown Apple Moth or European Grapevine Moth (EGVM) quarantine areas, please contact the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office 6 to 8 weeks prior to harvest. Call (707) 565-3219 and leave the following information:
- Your name
- Business name
- Vineyard address and number of acres to be harvested for shipment
- Call back phone number
- Expected date of harvest
- Where the shipment is going; the county, state or country
For more information on shipping grapes or EGVM, please go to our website at www.sonoma-county.org/agcomm.
Winery Scales at Winegrape Harvest
The winegrape harvest is king in Sonoma County’s crop culture. As the harvest season approaches, there is a noticeable rise the in energy level surrounding the event. Personnel and equipment are managed and shuffled in to place in order to maximize the success of the harvest. Scales are dusted off and powered up in preparation for the coming harvest.
The County Weights and Measures Division plays a small, but crucial role in this process. Because the value of the local winegrape crop is measured in hundreds of millions of dollars, it is very important to determine the weight of the crop that is purchased and sold between parties. Local growers depend on the yield of their crop for their family’s livelihood. Both the buyer and seller of the crop have a vested interest in using accurate scales to determine the weight of the crop. Any business that uses a scale to buy and sell grapes or to pay for someone’s labor based on the weight of the crop being picked, must have their scales registered and certified by the Weights and Measures Division prior to using them in any monetary transaction.
Currently our office has over 250 registered businesses that operate scales during the harvest. Of these businesses, the Weights and Measures Division inspects over 384 registered scales, 48 vehicle scales used to weigh truck loads of winegrapes or wine juice, 101 crane scales used to hoist and weigh gondolas in the field and in processing, and 235 dormant scales used to weigh macro-bins at the winery’s crush pad.
In order to manage this waive of activity, Weights and Measures holds a yearly crane scale seminar in two centralized locations where businesses can bring their crane scales to have them certified in an organized and scheduled fashion. As the approaching harvest nears, keep an eye out for our public notice which will be posted on our website under “What’s new.” The notice will announce the locations and dates for the crane seminars. Visit our website at www.sonoma-county.org/agcomm/ and sign up for our “What’s New” announcements.