By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
Crop values across the U.S. in 2012 were up a total of almost $14 billion over 2011, with field crops gaining almost $12.5 billion, fruits and nuts gaining almost $1.7 billion and commercial vegetables losing about $421 million.
Crop values in California were up $1.3 billion and up $461 million in Washington, but they were down $64 million in Idaho and $20 million in Oregon.
Fruit and nut crops in the Pacific Northwest and California all gained ground, adding $1.9 billion in California, $50 million in Oregon, $43 million in Washington and $13 million in Idaho.
Field and miscellaneous crops were up $43 million in Washington but were down $225 million in California, $107 million in Oregon and $94 million in Idaho.
Commercial vegetables were down $301 million in California, but were up in the Pacific Northwest, gaining $98 million in Washington, $37 million in Oregon and $17 million in Idaho.
California's big increase in the value of fruit and nuts was a result of big price jumps in almonds, pistachios and grapes, said Doug Flohr, ag statistician with the NASS field office in California.
Values in field crops and vegetables fell back a little but weren't huge decreases, he said.
In Washington, apples, pears and grapes posted the big increases in the value of fruit and nuts, said David Knopf, director of the NASS Washington field office.
The increase in value was due to record-high production in apples, even though prices were down slightly, higher prices for pears and increased production and prices in grapes, he said.
The increase in the value of field crops was largely due to substantial price increases for winter wheat and dry beans, 22 percent and 18 percent, respectively, he said.
Price increases for asparagus and onions and a production increase in onions led the increase in the value of vegetables, he said.
Onions are also a big driver in Oregon's vegetable values, and price increases there likely led to higher values in the vegetable sector, said Bruce Eklund, ag statistician with the NASS field office in Oregon.
The same is true for pears among Oregon's fruit crops, he said.
The decrease among field crops was attributed to a drop in hay and potato prices and a decrease in hay production, he said.
Hay and potato prices also played the major role in decreased value in Idaho's field crops. The value of hay was down 17 percent from 2011 and the value of potatoes was down 10 percent, said Bill Sigrist, ag statistician with the NASS Idaho field office.
The value of wheat also took a hit due to lost production, even though prices were up. The bright spot in Idaho's field crops was barley. A price increase there had values up 34 percent over 2011, he said.