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Santa Clara County Agriculture* AT A GLANCE In 2014, the County Agricultural Commissioner’s Offi ce issued a report profi ling the economic contribution of agriculture to Santa Clara County. Here’s how the County defi nes and values agriculture: The 8 Sectors of Agriculture Crop production Mushroom farms Nurseries Livestock Primary processing Food manufacturing Agritourism and wine Support industries The Value of Agriculture $275 million – gross ag production value $1.6 billion – total ag industry output value $830 million – annual contribution to Santa Clara County’s economy Pete and Joe Aiello 8,100 – ag workers employed annually processors in the farming ecosystem. They also provide ground prep, planting and harvesting, logistics and trucking services to other farmers. “We continue to invest as much as we can back into growing our business,” Pete explained. “Sometimes we have to jump through hoops and be persistent in order to get things done, but it’s worth it if we can improve our operations and service.” Examples of this include a field of solar collection panels hooked up to the power grid, and a large, energy-efficient cold storage facility that has enabled the Aiello’s to increase their production. Uesugi’s Market 25 store provides an opportunity to sell fresh produce and local food products direct to the community. The Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park is home to one of Northern California’s premiere fall pumpkin festivals. This October marks the 26th Annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-In, with cash prizes going to the owners of the heftiest pumpkins. Along with pumpkins, the park features train rides, hay rides, a corn maze, a carousel, a petting zoo and other activities. On July 16 th , community members will gather at Guglielmo Winery to honor Joe Aiello at Leadership Morgan Hill’s annual Leadership Excellence Award Dinner (LEAD). Joe will be recognized for his long history of leadership and volunteerism in our community. The event will also help raise funds to support Leadership Morgan Hill’s ongoing education and training program, which includes a focus on ag and open space in South County. Over $45 billion – estimated value of the county’s natural capital, much of it preserved by ag *ERA Economics Report, “The Economic Contribution of Agriculture to the County of Santa Clara (2014)” for the county Agricultural Commissioner’s Office (sccagri- culture.org). **Santa Clara County Food System Assessment (caff.org/wp-content/ uploads/2015/03/Final_VersionASSESS_010814_sm.pdf). GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY / AUGUST 2016 gmhtoday.com 59