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Escondido Continues to Grow Agricultural Industry

Agriculture helps drive economic growth and innovation throughout Escondido and the region.  San Diego County is the number one producer of nursery products in the nation, the 12th largest farm economy in California, and the 19th largest farm economy in the nation, according to statistics provided by the San Diego County Farm Bureau (SDCFB).

San Diego County Farm Bureau offices are in the AGHub building in Escondido.

“Escondido has a really robust agricultural presence,” said Hanna Gbeh, Executive Director for the San Diego County Farm Bureau. “When you look at the numbers in San Diego County, we contribute $1.8 billion annually to the local economy.”

The SDCFB is a nonprofit membership organization that helps elevate the voice of the local agriculture industry and its farmers. Established in San Diego in 1914, SDCFB is one of the earliest farm bureaus in the state. It helps farmers navigate a complex regulatory environment and advocates for farmers so they can remain economically viable in San Diego County.

Hannah Gbeh (center) and the team at the San Diego County Farm Bureau.

The SDCFB also holds educational events and seminars on new technologies and research that affects farming. Recently its Farm and Nursery Expo held at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido brought farmers from around the county to learn more.

                                                                                                                                                          A roundtable discussion at the Farm and Nursery Expo.
“Escondido has a rich history of farming throughout the area,” said Jennifer Schoeneck, Escondido’s Deputy Director of Economic Development. “It really is a hub for farming in San Diego County.”

One of the most vital components of growing is water, and in a State where water is one of the highest commodities, Escondido is a leader in finding ways to safeguard the supply of water so it is readily available to farmers. 

“Escondido is ensuring long-term viability for agriculture,” Gbeh said. “An example of that is the clean water pipeline they are constructing. This is a national model of how to successfully make sure you can keep agriculture continuing to develop in urban environments.”

Gbeh said the SDCFB is grateful to Escondido for pioneering this effort. She also said that San Diego is a leader in sustainable agriculture and specialty crops. Even though farmers here are challenged with the high costs of water and land, labor shortages, and regulations, they continue to produce high-quality commodities and specialty items. Some of the niche markets throughout the county include guavas, coffee, and industrial hemp. 

Escondido also has a grape market with vineyards that have produced several award-winning wines throughout the city. Agri-tourism has become another way many farmers are finding ways to sustain their farms. Wineries, such as Altipiano in the hills of Escondido, offer wine tastings and accommodations on site for those looking to experience life on a vineyard. 

Altipiano winery in the hills of Escondido

No matter the size of the farm or the product being produced, Escondido is ripe with agriculture that continues to support the community and the local economy. And from seed to table, the SDCFB is there to support the efforts of everyone involved in the process.