Fiona Ma for State Assembly

Lawmakers honor California agriculture

LEGISLATORS CELEBRATE AG DAY. The State Capitol was buzzing under wet skies Wednesday as hundreds of visitors and legislators celebrated agriculture on the West grounds. The day started with a press conference set up by the poultry industry and other agricultural groups to introduce a resolution titled “Eat Local, Buy California Grown on Sundays.” The idea is to emphasize the importance of buying local and how it not only helps local businesses but enhances jobs and our economy. We don’t expect it to have much trouble sailing through and approved by the legislature. The resolution was introduced by San Francisco Majority Democratic Leader Fiona Ma, a member of the Ag Committee, and also Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani (our assemblywoman) who is the Ag Committee chair again this year. They both emphasized the importance of buying locally. Senator Anthony Cannella told the crowd that he would usher the resolution through the senate once it arrived there.

Here is why agriculture is so important to us and to the state:

• California continues to set the pace for the rest of the nation as the country’s largest agricultural producer. More than 90 percent of California farms are family farms or partnerships.

• California is the most agriculturally abundant state in the country, producing more than 400 commodities and generating $34.8 billion in revenues, which represents 12.3 percent of the U.S. total.

• Across the nation, U.S. consumers regularly purchase several crops produced solely in California: almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, grapes, raisins, kiwifruit, olives, Clingstone peaches, pistachios, dried plums, pomegranates, sweet rice and walnuts.

• California produce accounts for $19.65 billion of the state’s $34.8 billion in agricultural sales, amounting to 56 percent.

• California grown livestock and poultry account for 22 percent of the state’s agricultural sales ($7.81billion).

• California produces 12.8 percent of the country’s total exports.

• And if everyone in the state consumed only California products one day a week it would amount to 10 billion pounds and $15.6 billion in sales.