by Debbie Arnold, SLO County Board of Supervisors
Summer has arrived, and right on schedule, so has the hot weather. It seems we can always count on the weather to heat up just before the fair. I know many of us are looking forward to attending the fair this year. As usual, Mike Bradley and his staff have organized twelve days of competition, entertainment, and family fun. The California Mid-State Fair has definitely become a signature event for the County.
Part of the fun of the fair is sharing in the traditional agricultural events. Whether you are a spectator or a participant, the agricultural events are fun. Soon the barns will be full of animals, waiting to be shown by the local 4-H and FFA youth. The horse arenas will be busy with competitions ranging from horse shows to rodeos.
This is the time of year where agricultural families countywide get together to socialize and enjoy the sights and sounds of a fair that has been entertaining generations. There is even special recognition given to the agricultural community during the fair. The contributions of the agricultural community are recognized every year by the Board of Supervisors as well.
On the topic of agriculture, a summary of the Commissioner’s report for 2018 was just given in public session during a board meeting. For the first time the value of ag commodities grown in this county surpassed $1 billion. It is always interesting to see which crops did well. In 2018 the top value crop was grapes with a value of over $276 million. Grapes were followed closely by strawberries with a value over $268 million. The next three crops in order of value were broccoli, avocados, and cattle, with each valued over $40 million. Vegetable transplants and cauliflower each had crop values over $30 million. To round out the top ten crops grown in this county, cut flowers, head lettuce, and lemons were all valued over $20 million.
Agriculture plays a big role in this county, both economically and culturally. We can be proud that our county plays a role in feeding the world. Many ag products will be on display at the fair for all of us to enjoy, so stay cool and enjoy the summer growing season. I hope to see you at the fair!
It’s an honor to represent the 5th District.