When it comes to agriculture, California is hard to beat. From Sage Mountain Farms to the strawberry fields all over Orange County, the Golden State is always producing the country’s best fruits and vegetables. The global notoriety of the flower from California’s Emerald Triangle is well-deserved, and our non-cannabis heritage farms gave us the moniker “The Land of Milk and Honey.”
Surviving on Subsistence Farming
This land is a paradise for most, but not all, and the stewards of our soil struggle the most. For decades now, conditions have become more difficult for California farmers. The recent pandemic has caused massive losses of income for them—possibly even up to 13 billion dollars statewide when all is said and done.
The Effects of Outsourcing
However, profits have been declining steadily as floriculture (the growing of ornamental flowers) and other industries have continued to be outsourced since the 2000s. Back in the day, purchasing a bouquet meant that your money would go to farming communities in this state. Now those funds go abroad to companies who don’t grow here and don’t have California’s interests at heart. When that money leaves, it does not come back to the farming communities who need it.
When the agriculture industry faces challenges, so do farmers and residents of rural communities. In areas like Monterey County (among the hardest-hit with pandemic-related job loss), unemployment rates are almost double the statewide average.
How Coronavirus and Economy Issues Affect California Farmers
Where unemployment is high, tax revenue is low. Grapes, ornamental flowers and other crops might not come back when the pandemic is over, but there’s a new cash crop on the horizon, and it might just save the California economy.
New Horizons in Cultivation
According to the most recent BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research report, 3.1 billion dollars was made in legal cannabis last year. To compare against a more traditional crop like pistachios, that’s more than triple the market share. Even though the nut industry is well-established in the state and doesn’t have to compete with California’s 8.7 billion dollar black market, cannabis is already blowing it out of the water. As customers continue to switch to purchasing legal cannabis, farmers of traditional crops will be able to recoup their losses by growing cannabis.
In our farming communities, legal cannabis cultivation by People’s California farmers is the green new future for our farmers. We look forward to the more high-quality flower coming in from all over the state, and we can’t wait to see the cannabis jobs that will revitalize our economy.