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Marin Co. crop and livestock values fall

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The gross value of Marin County’s livestock and crops in 2017 dropped 10 percent from the year before because of sharply lower milk prices, the Marin County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office said Tuesday.

The gross value of crops and livestock in 2017 was $87.2 million, down from $96.5 million in 2016.

Milk comprised 39 percent of the total gross value of livestock and crops but it was down from 45 percent in 2016, Agricultural Commissioner Stacy Carlsen said.

Milk, with a total value of $34 million in 2017, remains the top agricultural commodity in the county, but its value was down 21 percent from 2016.

The value of organic milk fell 22 percent, and the production of organic and conventional milk was down 4.8 percent last year.

Carlsen said in the Livestock and Crop Report:

“The overall decline is primarily related to reduced organic milk prices, largely due to the supply side.”

Concern about large and ultra-large organic milk production in other states is influencing prices across the country, she said.

Two-thirds of Marin County’s gross agricultural values are based on an organic system, and there are 36,000 acres in organic production.

Poultry ($17.8 million), harvested pasture ($10.9 million) and cattle ($10.7 million) were the next-highest grossing agricultural products in the county in 2017.

Cattle prices declined 53 percent in 2016 but increased two percent in 2017.

The value of fruits and vegetables increased 17 percent and aquaculture values increased 14 percent. The value or nursery products fell 33 percent, and silage – a mixture of raw materials used for winter livestock feed – fell 23 percent.

Carlsen said Marin County’s farmers are taking every step possible to be sustainable producers of high quality, high value commodities that are safe to eat and beneficial to the environment.

Carlsen said:

“We’ve set some of the highest standards in the United States.”

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