California Farmers Lead the Nation: #1 in Marketing Sales
February 28, 2017

California Farmers Lead the Nation: #1 in Marketing Sales

By: Amy Fuentes,
Fresno Food Expo Manager

With $2.9 billion in revenue this past year, the Golden State leads the country in agricultural & value-added food marketing sales

Over the past year, more than 167,000 farms in the U.S. locally produced and sold food through direct marketing efforts and brought in $8.7 billion in revenue, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistic Service. The report included both fresh and value-added foods like meat and cheese— representing only a fraction of the locally grown and produced foods you will find at the Fresno Food Expo (detailed more in our exhibitor breakdown, below).

A growing number of farms across the country are pursuing new ways to market their products and connect to their local communities. Their strategies include selling agricultural products directly to consumers, marketing directly to retail outlets, creating and selling a variety of value-added products, or promoting visits to their operations.

Our home state led the group in total direct food sales this year, racking up $2,869,000,000 in revenues, followed by Michigan at $459,000,000.

Where the numbers lie
The top category overall in regards to agricultural revenue in 2016 came from farms selling to institutions directly (e.g. selling bulk produce to wholesalers who brand the product for restaurants and markets alike) which brought in a total of $3.4 billion.

In second were the 115,000 operations with direct-to-consumer sales, like farmers markets on-farm stores which brought in $3 billion. Third were sales to retailers from over 23,000 operations around the country which brought in $2.3 billion in revenue. And although Pennsylvania led the nation in the amount of farms selling directly to consumers, California once again led in total revenues, at $467 million.

Where the San Joaquin Valley is helping California lead the pack
More than half the country’s fruits, vegetables, and nuts are grown in California, a large majority of which comes from the Central California region.

There are over 2,500 fresh produce growers and packers in our region, who combined, represent more than 65 percent of California’s agricultural value. The figures below are from the 2014 Crop Reports done by the Fresno County Ag Department that focus on agriculture production and are provided by the eight counties represented:

●       Tulare County             $8.01 billion

●       Kern County               $7.55 billion

●       Fresno County            $7.01 billion

●       Merced County          $4.43 billion

●       Stanislaus County      $4.39 billion

●       Madera County          $2.67 billion

●       San Joaquin County  $2.67 billion

●       Kings County            $2.47 billion

As a whole, the San Joaquin Valley agriculture is behind an economic impact of $137.2 billion using the 3.5 multiplier effect. This formula represents the intensity of the trickle-down in each aspect of business growth including expanded production capabilities, job creation to meet production needs, packaging, marketing, increased demand for ingredients and expanded infrastructure to support the higher volume as well as delivery systems required to transport the products.

Where all of these factors come together
The Fresno Food Expo is the nation’s largest regional food industry tradeshow, offering Central California’s finest food growers, producers, brewers and winemakers an opportunity to connect with key buyers from international, domestic, regional, and local food and beverage buying channels.

Much like other food industry tradeshows, our Expo’s primary focus is business to business (B2B) interactions with EXHIBITORS looking to sell their products to BUYERS who are walking the show looking for products to purchase. Exhibitors are food manufacturers who are headquartered, or have large operations in the Central California region and Buyers are from the local, national and international food retail and foodservice industry.

If you are interested in getting involved with the local food scene, and supporting Central California buyers, growers, sellers, restaurants, and more, check out our website and learn more about the Fresno Food Expo today!


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