Agriculture is a major industry for the Golden State. With 76,400 farms and ranches, California agriculture is a $54 billion dollar industry that generates at least $100 billion in related economic activity.
This enormous achievement is possible through a combination of tradition and innovation that has secured California’s status as the most productive agricultural state for more than 50 years. Farmers and ranchers blend old-fashioned notions of patience and perseverance with cutting-edge technologies and advanced agricultural practices. The result is a highly adaptable and diverse industry encompassing more than 350 plant and animal commodities.
In 1919, the California Legislature created a single department responsible for protecting and promoting agriculture. The California Department of Food and Agriculture is now organized into five divisions. The department operates at more than 100 locations throughout the state. These divisions provide valuable services to producers, merchants and the public. Many of the functions are conducted in partnership with local county offices of the agricultural commissioners and sealers.
California’s agricultural abundance is a reflection of the people who made the Golden State their home. In the process, they brought their agricultural heritage with them. Early California farmers and ranchers were the Spanish missionaries, followed by Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese and Russians. Today, nearly every nationality is represented in California agriculture.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture strives to support this tradition of innovation and agricultural diversity by working with private industry, academia and public sector agencies. These partnerships allow the department to adapt public policy to a rapidly changing industry – California agriculture.