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12
CALIFORNIA

progress has been very intelligent; in earlier years it was gained through a multitude of experiments and failures, and great pecuniary loss, and progress was a testimonial chiefly to courage and perseverance. The possibilities of the lower Sonoran and tropical areas are still imperfectly known. Nature has been niggard of rain but lavish in soil and sun. Irrigation has shown that with water, arid and barren plains, veritable deserts may be made to bloom with immense wealth of semi-tropical fruits; and irrigation in the tropical area along the Colorado river, which is so arid that it naturally bears only desert vegetation, has made it a true humid-tropical region like Southern Florida, growing true tropical fruits.

In 1900 California ranked eleventh among the states in total value of farm property ($796,527,955) and in 1899 fourteenth in the value of farm products ($131,690,606). The growth of the former from 1890 to 1900 was only 2.5%, one of the smallest increases among all the states.

The pastoral period extended from 1769 to 1848. The live-stock industry was introduced by the Franciscans and flourished exceedingly. In 1834, when the missions had already passed their best days, there were some 486,000 cattle, horses, mules and asses on the ranges, and 325,000 small animals, principally sheep. Throughout the pre-American period stock-raising was the leading industry; it built up the prosperity of the missions, largely supported the government and almost exclusively sustained foreign commerce. Hides and tallow were the sum and substance of Californian economy. Horses were slaughtered wholesale at times to make way for cattle on the ranges. There was almost no dairying; olive oil took the place of butter, and wine of milk, at the missions; and in general indeed the Mexicans were content with water. In the development of the state under the American regime the live-stock industry has been subordinate. A fearful drought in 1862-1864 greatly depressed it, and especially discouraged cattle ranching. Sheep then became of primary importance, until the increase of the flocks threatened ranges and forests with destruction. As late as 1876 there were some 7,000,000 sheep, in 1900 only 2,581,000, and in 1906 only 1,750,000. In the total value of all live stock (5,402,297 head) in 1900 ($65,000,000) the rank of the state was 15th in the Union, and in value of dairy products in 1899 (12.84 million dollars) 12th. The live-stock industry showed a tendency to decline after 1890, and the dairy industry also, despite various things—notably irrigation and alfalfa culture—that have favoured them.

Cereals replaced hides and tallow in importance after 1848. Wheat was long California’s greatest crop. Its production steadily increased till about 1884, the production in 1880, the banner year, being more than 54 million bushels (32,537,360 centals). Since 1884 its production has markedly fallen off; in 1905 the wheat crop was 17,542,013 bushels, and in 1906, 26,883,662 bushels (valued at $20,162,746). There has been a general parallelism between the amount of rain and the amount of wheat produced; but as yet irrigation is little used for this crop. In the eighth decade of the 19th century, the value of the wheat product had come to exceed that of the annual output of gold. Barley has always been very important. The acreage given to it in 1899 was one-fourth the total cereal acreage, and San Francisco in 1902-1904 was the shipping point of the larger part of American exported barley, of (roughly) three-quarters in 1902, seven-eighths in 1903 and four-fifths in 1904. In 1906 California produced 38,760,000 bushels of barley, valued at $20,930,400. The great increase in the acreage of barley, which was 22.5% of the country’s barley acreage in 1906, and 24.2% in 1905, is one reason for the decreased production of wheat. The level nature of the great grain farms of the valley led to the utilization of machinery of remarkable character. Combined harvesters (which enter a field of standing grain and leave this grain piled in sacks ready for shipment), steam gang-ploughs, and other farm machinery are of truly extraordinary size and efficiency. In 1899 cereals represented more than a third of the total crop acreage and crop product ($93,641,334) of the state. Wheat and other cereals are in part cut for hay, and the hay crop of 1906 was 1,133,465 tons, valued at $12,751,481. California is one of the leading hop-producing states of the Union, the average annual production since 1901 being more than 10,000,000 lb. The product of sugar beets increased between 1888 and 1902 from 1910 to 73,761 tons (according to the state board of trade), and in 1909 (according to the department of agriculture) it was 882,084 tons, from which 254,544,000 lb of sugar was manufactured. In this industry California in 1909 ranked second to Colorado. Truck gardening for export is an assured industry, especially in the north. Great quantities of vegetables, fresh and canned, are shipped yearly, and the same is true on a far larger scale of fruit. Vegetable exports more than doubled between 1894 and 1903. In 1899 hay and grain represented slightly more than a third of the farm acreage and capital and also of the value of all farm products; live-stock and dairy farms represented slightly more than half the acreage, and slightly under 30% of the capital and produce; fruit farms absorbed 6.2% of the acreage and 27% of the capital, and returned 22.5% of the value of farm produce.

Fruit-growing.—Horticulture is now the principal industry, and in this field California has no rival in the United States, although ranking after Florida in the growth of some tropical or semi-tropical fruits,—pineapples, guava, limes, pomeloes or grape-fruit and Japanese persimmons. In 1899 California’s output of fruit was more than a fifth of that of the whole Union. The supremacy of the state is established in the growth of oranges, lemons, citrons, olives, figs, almonds, Persian (or English) walnuts, plums and prunes, grapes and raisins, nectarines, apricots and pomegranates; it also leads in pears, and peaches, but here its primacy is not so assured. Southern California by no means monopolizes the warm-zone fruits. Oranges, lemons and walnuts come chiefly from that section, but citrus fruits grow splendidly in the Sierra foothills of the Sacramento Valley, and indeed ripen earlier there than in the southern district. Almonds, as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries and apricots, come mainly from the north. Over half of the prune crop comes from Santa Clara county, and the bulk of the raisin output from Fresno county. Olives thrive as far north as the head of the Great Valley, growing in all the valleys and foothills up to 1500 or 2000 ft. They were introduced by the Franciscans (as were various other subtropical fruits, pears and grapes), but their scientific betterment and commercial importance date from about 1885. They grow very abundantly and of the finest quality; for many years poor methods of preparation prejudiced the market against the Californian product, but this has ceased to be the case. The modern orange industry practically began with the introduction into Southern California in 1873 of two seedless orange trees from Brazil; from their stock have been developed by budding millions of trees bearing a seedless fruit known as the “Washington navel,” which now holds first rank in American markets; other varieties, mainly seedlings, are of great but secondary importance. Shipments continue the year round. There has been more than one horticultural excitement in California, but especially in orange culture, which was for a time almost as epidemic a fever as gold seeking once was. By reason of the co-operative effort demanded for the large problems of irrigation, packing and marketing, the citrus industry has done much for the permanent development of the state, and its extraordinary growth made it, towards the close of the 19th century, the most striking and most potent single influence in the growth of agriculture. State legislation has advanced the fruit interest in all possible ways. Between 1872 and 1903 exports of canned fruits increased from 91 to 94,205 short tons; between 1880 and 1903 the increase of dried fruit exports was from 295 to 149,531 tons; of fresh deciduous fruits, from 2590 to 101,199; of raisins, from 400 to 39,963; of citrus fruits, from 458 to 299,623; of wines and brandies between 1891 and 1903, from 47,651 to 97,332 tons. Of the shipments in 1903 some 44% were from Southern California,—i.e. from the seven southernmost counties.

Grape culture has a great future in California. Vines were