AG BUSINESS BOOMING:

Agricultural production in Santa Barbara County jumped 10
percent in gross value last year, thanks to the popularity of Santa
Barbara wines. According to deputy Agricultural Commissioner Guy
Tingos, the value of the grapes decreased slightly, but more
acreage was devoted to them – particularly the chardonnay, pinot
noir, and shiraz varieties. In addition to its traditional
popularity overseas, wine has now surpassed beer as America’s most
popular alcoholic beverage, Tingo said. Agriculture’s net gross
increased by more than $90 million in the last year, totaling $998
million for 2005. Strawberries continue to be the leading crop –
grossing $203 million – while grapes have stolen second place from
broccoli, with gross revenues of $160 million.

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