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 State of Agriculture in Siskiyou County 2004
Crop, livestock and timber values by Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor
Pioneer Press Sept 21, 2005 edition

The State of Agriculture: I recently received a copy of the Siskiyou County 2004 Crop and Livestock Report. Despite all the regulatory hammering agriculture has taken, the gross agricultural receipts in the county, (excluding timber,) totaled $130,390,000. That is a $15,580,000 increase over 2003. That is still substantially greater than the total annual tourism earnings for Siskiyou County, which were reported by the Center for Economic Development in Chico to be $53.5 million in 2003 – up from $51.5 in 2002.
Timber production in 2004 increased from the previous year to 239,349,000 board feet, with a value of almost $51,566,000. However, when viewed in comparison with historic harvest levels, this is a substantial decline from pre-northern spotted owl listing levels and values. For instance, in 1988, 584,400,000 board feet were harvested with a value of $74,438,000. In 1997, although 250,840,000 board feet of timber was harvested, the value was $83,428,000. Because of regulation and the loss of saw mills, the difference in value may be due to the fact that fewer large trees are being harvested.
It is estimated that of the 4,083,843 acres in Siskiyou County, 1,153,246 acres are in farms and ranches. 2,525,216 acres are in woodland and forest. Only 138,000 acres are irrigated. What many of us consider is “open space” that creates beautiful green vistas and enhances our quality of life is used for economic benefit by many local families.  
Alfalfa hay topped crop tonnage at 275,000 tons worth $28,875,000. Irrigated, dryland and rangeland pastures produced forage worth $13,135,000. The value of all field crops, including grains, totaled $56,300,000. Field crop values have remained pretty stable over the past decade. I am told that the farmer is getting the same price for alfalfa that he got in the 1970s, while the costs of overhead for diesel, fertilizer, regulations, fees and permits has skyrocketed. .
Fruits and vegetable crops have taken a hit since the Klamath Basin water crisis. Crops such as potatoes, carrots, and dry onions planted on 3,759 acres were valued at $10,123,000 in 2004.  This can be compared to 1995, when 9,161 acres were planted and bumper crops were valued at $23,077,000.
Nursery crops are declining in Siskiyou County. This is primarily due to the loss of the fumigant methyl bromide and fewer acres being planted in strawberry stock in Butte Valley. Nursery is down slightly in value at $22,923,000 in 2004 compared to $23,591,000 in 2003.
Livestock inventories are up with an estimated 20,000 calves, 10,000 cows 20,500 steers and heifers and 1,300 bulls. These are valued at $32,196,000 – up from $26,779,000 in 2003.  The inventory of bulls and cows is down a bit from the 1990s, but the calf inventory has increased.
Siskiyou County is also estimated to have 1,000 sheep, 4,800 lambs, 900 goats, 600 hogs and pigs. Milk and wool crops have increased to $4,896,000 over 2003’s $3,867,000. Organic crops are on the rise with a 2004 value of $2,397,000.
We also have 13,500 horses and mules, not counting local politicians such as yours truly. 



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