California Horticulture Sales Reach $2.63 Billion in 2019

On Tuesday, December 8, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties report, the only source of detailed production and sales data for floriculture, nursery, and specialty crops for the entire United States. The data show that horticulture operations in California sold a total of $2.63 billion in floriculture, nursery and specialty crops in 2019, down 9% from the sales in 2014. California sold 19% of the total U.S. horticulture sales of $13.8 billion in 2019, more than any other state. In addition to sales, the number of horticulture operations in California decreased 22% during this time to 1,331, and the number of operations in the United States decreased 11% during this time to 20,655.

“The horticulture census is a vital tool that highlights the contribution horticulture growers bring to our local, state, and national economies,” said Pacific Region Director Gary R. Keough. “It shows changes and trends in the industry over the past five years and beyond.”

Horticulture production occurred primarily in 10 states, which accounted for 66% of all U.S. horticulture sales in 2019. California ($2.63 billion), Florida ($1.93 billion) and Oregon ($1.02 billion) led the nation in sales.

The top five commodities in California horticulture sales in 2019, and compared to 2014, were:

·         Nursery stock, $831 million, down 13%
·         Potted flowering plants, $322 million, up 7%
·         Transplants for Commercial Vegetable and Strawberry, $266 million, up 4%
·         Cut flowers & cut lei flowers, $249 million, down 26%
·         Annual bedding/garden plants, $232 million, up 6%
 
Other key findings for California from the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties report include:

·         Family- or individually-owned operations made up the largest number of operations, accounting for 48%, but corporately-owned operations accounted for 80% of sales ($2.11 billion).

·         Total industry expenses were at $2.21 billion in 2019, with hired labor being the largest cost, accounting for 36% of total expenses.

The Census of Horticultural Specialties is part of the larger Census of Agriculture program. It provides information on the number and types of establishments engaged in horticultural production, value of sales, varieties of products, production expenses and more. All operations that reported producing and selling $10,000 or more of horticultural crops on the 2017 Census of Agriculture were included in this special study.

For more information and to access the full report, visit www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.

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