Vegetable Research & Information Center, UC Cooperative Extension

San Diego County Agriculture

staked tomatoes grown with drip irrigation stakes for tomatoes & plastic tunnels on hillsides

Staked tomatoes being grown with
drip irrigation.

Stakes for tomatoes and plastic
tunnels on hillsides.

plastic tunnels for spring vegetable production cucumbers

Plastic tunnels used for
spring vegetable production.

Staked cucumbers grown
in February under plastic
tents with drip irrigation.

San Diego County Overview

In 1992, San Diego County ranked 8th in agricultural economic impact among California counties and 10th in all U.S. counties. San Diego County agriculture is a billion dollar a year industry. In addition to the economic benefits of flower, plant, fruit, vegetable and livestock production, San Diegans enjoy the green belts that are preserved by agricultural enterprises. The unique climate found in San Diego County makes it a world center for agricultural diversity. Nowhere else do people enjoy the year-round variety and quality of San Diego's locally grown agricultural products.

Technological Innovation

University of California researchers working with progressive local growers in this unique setting have made San Diego County a center for agricultural technology as well as production diversity. The commercial use of drip irrigation systems was pioneered in San Diego and the largest producers of drip irrigation systems are headquartered here. County agriculture, struggling with water costs that average $650/acre foot, has gained the title as the most efficient agricultural water user in the United States. The use of plastics for crop protection also developed in response to San Diego agriculture's needs and is another example of a special local technology which has spread throughout the world.

Future Prospects

San Diego agriculture is responding to changing markets, local needs, urbanization, rising water costs, and competition from Mexico and Florida. The total acreage of crops has declined in San Diego County and agriculture is changing from an industry based on the production of a few major commodities for interstate trade to a diversified and responsive industry serving local needs as well as interstate and international markets. Exceptionally high value and high quality vegetable crops are produced in San Diego County.

Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California.
All contents copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California. All Rights Reserved.
Development funding from the University of California and USDA, CSREES.
Please e-mail your comments to:
Last updated: August 21, 2020
Plant Sciences ANR Logo