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