Over the last several months, the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business has had the opportunity to highlight the complexities of the agricultural industry. In addition, as the Executive Director of Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association, I have provided articles on the vegetable industry. Vegetables are certainly an important part of the diverse crops grown here and consistently are approximately 25 percent of the acreage harvested and in 2016, 48 percent of gross value for Imperial County.
Beef, however, is the single largest “crop” with a gross value in 2016 of $400,614,000. Cattle here has been the No. 1 commodity since 1957. Beef, as a food source, has the most unique and complex lifecycle of any food we consume. It takes two to three years to bring beef from farm to fork, unlike a vegetable with only a 90-day cycle from seed to fork. Nationally, beef represents a $67.56 billion industry. We do like our beef.