Capital Press

A University of California researcher says the value of California's seed production makes it a significant player on the national and world market.

The study, conducted by William Matthews of the University of California-Davis, says California claims nearly one-twelfth of the value of global seed production.

In 2008, California seed growers earned gross revenues of $2.9 billion, which amounts to 7.9 percent of the value of sales worldwide, the report says.

The study was funded by the California Seed Advisory Board. Board chairman Ken Scarlett called it "the first detailed and accurate assessment of the seed industry in California.

"The results show the importance of seed production to the economy of the state and the global value of California's industry," Scarlett said in a statement.

Of all seed sold in California in 2008, nearly a third of vegetable seed was produced in-state, as was more than half of field-crop seed, the study says. Of the state's nearly $40 billion worth of agricultural commodities in 2008, more than a third was produced from California-grown seeds.

The figures were estimated from county records, surveys of seed companies, data from the 2007 Census of Agriculture and three decades' worth of state production records.

Between 1980 and 2000, seed production varied between 250,000 and 300,000 acres annually. Those numbers have dropped to 200,000-300,000 acres since 2001, the study says.

The annual farm value of seed production has stayed between $200 million and $300 million since the state began producing seed commercially in 1970, the report says.


Read the report at

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