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Fresno County grapes exceed $1 billion in value

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A new report finds that for the first time in history, a Fresno County crop — grapes — has exceeded one billion dollars in production value.

Fresno County's annual crop and livestock report for 2012, released Tuesday, found the total gross value for grapes was $1.1 billion, up 15 percent from 2011. Grapes have remained the county's No. 1 crop for more than a decade.

Fresno County remained the top agricultural producer in the nation last year, when the production value of its agricultural commodities totaled $6.6 billion, a 3 percent decline from 2011.

Oranges and mandarins saw some of the largest decreases — by 36 percent and 54 percent — due to the winter freeze.

Almonds increased in total value by 14.5 percent and pistachios by 11 percent.