Strawberries

Chan Yan Saechao and family run a farm and fruit stand on the outskirts of Fortuna (Photo by E Christian Wisner)

Quick Statistics:

Agricultural Production (2006) $294,787,100

Acres in Agricultural Use
690,000

Acres Intensively Farmed
67,000

Top Five crops, by Value (2006)

Timber.....................$171,631,700
Nursery Products.......$49,116,900
Milk............................$29,727,000
Cattle........................$19,816,200
Pasture/Range............$8,672,500

For more information contact the Humboldt Farm Bureau office at
humboldtfb@sbcglobal.net

Agriculture in Humboldt County

Agriculture has historically been one of the major resources of Humboldt County. Approximately 690,000 acres or nearly a third of the total land area in the County is directed to some type of agricultural use. About 67,000 acres of land is classified as being under intensive farming (e.g., harvested cropland and cropland used only for pasture), while an estimated 605,000 acres of land is used primarily for grazing related purposes (e.g., pastureland and rangeland). The high rainfall, fertility of the soil, marine climate, and soil depth make some of the County's agriculture land highly productive: the economic value of agricultural production topped 44 million dollars in 1981. The more profitable, intensive agricultural practices generally occur on the more fertile land, on manageable parcels, with ample water supply. Although upland grazing is the predominant agricultural practice in Humboldt County and requires vast acreages for profitability, it tends to involve non-prime quality land in the remote areas which are subjected to competition from possibly competing land uses.

Significant agricultural resources are located near the cities of Arcata, Fortuna, and Blue Lake, as well as around McKinleyville, Dow's Prairie, the Eel River Delta, Metropolitan, Holmes, Willow Creek, Orleans, Mattole Valley, Garberville, Petrolia, Honeydew, Ettersburg, Bunker Hill, Table Bluff, Bear River, Alderpoint, Blocksburg, Harris, Pepperwood, Redwood Creek drainage, and many other areas. The importance of agricultural land is unquestionable; yet, during the past several decades, nearly 100,000 acres of land has undergone land use changes due to subdivision activity. The County is currently attempting to slow down the agricultural land conversion process by supporting the Williamson Act Program. Nearly 200,000 acres of land in the County is presently under this program. Humboldt County will continue to support the Williamson Act, as well as other measures to discourage the loss of agricultural land.

Due to the fact that there is a net importation of agricultural products into the County, there is a need to: provide for the future production of essential food supplies; promote the continued presence of agriculture in Humboldt County, and; conserve and utilize lands where agriculture is or can become economically viable. Many opportunities exist through non-traditional crops, intensive management and the operator's commitment to agriculture, to significantly contribute to the County's agricultural production. Much of the rural land in the County has the potential for a variety of agricultural uses.