dairy farmer and cows
Photo by TORWAISTUDIO / Shutterstock.com

Kern crop values drop by 7%, Tulare hits record high.

Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice

Tulare County claimed the top spot as the nation’s leading agricultural-producing county for the 2022 crop year, surpassing Kern County with a 6.5% growth compared to its 2021 value. While crop performance in the Central Valley showed substantial variation across the board, Tulare notably came out on top, and Kern County dropped by 7%. 

California’s three top agricultural counties — Kern, Tulare, and Fresno — have a competitive history for the title of number one producing county in the United States. Fresno remained at the top spot for three years until Kern took the lead in 2021. Now Tulare has taken the lead, reaching a record high of $8.6 billion, roughly 11% higher than Kern County’s $7.7 billion year.

Fresno County’s 2022 crop report has not been released or reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, but according to the agriculture commissioner’s office, publication is anticipated in October.


The primary factor linking each county with an increased 2022 crop value is an efficient dairy industry — Tulare, Stanislaus, and King counties each named milk as the leading agricultural commodity.

According to Farm Progress, the first six months of 2022 saw fewer cows coupled with a decline in milk production, but the second half of the year countered with increased cow numbers and the subsequent increase in milk production per cow. Milk production began eroding milk prices later in the year.

Long-term trends for U.S. dairy products include a steady increase in milk production as well as a consolidation of dairy farm operations, a USDA estimate explained. As the leading agricultural commodity in Tulare County, milk grossed over $2 billion, a 37% increase from the prior year.

The value of milk averaged over $26 per hundredweight (cwt) for Tulare, pushing it to the top spot in gross agricultural output based on other publicly available county reports.

Stanislaus County also saw the benefits of stable milk production, replacing almonds as the top-valued commodity and increasing by 41% in total value due to Federal Milk Marketing Order prices. Milk, which accounted for 30% of Stanislaus County’s total value, increased the county’s total gross agricultural value by 5% compared to the previous year.

Similarly, King County’s gross value increased by 10.7% from 2021. The agricultural commissioner, Jimmy Hook, cited the positive difference to the county’s top commodity — milk.

Milk products were also one of the only crops that rose in value for Kern County’s 2022 agricultural year, increasing by roughly 38%.

Previous articleFarm Bill Expires, Political Powers Evaluate Priorities
Next articleVentura County Orders Citrus Quarantine