Oxnard agriculture continues to thrive, with county estimates of gross dollar sales more than $1.6 billion annually. Agriculture continues to be a mainstay for Ventura County’s economy. The county spans over 1,800 square miles and is unique in that it boasts of nearly one acre of irrigated farmland for every acre of city. Strawberries are the leading commodity followed by nursery stock, celery and raspberries.
Oxnard is surrounded by some of the most fertile agricultural land in the world. While sugar beets, lima beans and lemons were historically the top-grown produce of the area, Oxnard has become the agricultural leader in the growth and export of strawberries.
Helping to rank California No. 1 producer of strawberries, Ventura County revenues for the delicious red berry topped $515.4 million in 2009.
More than 12,000 acres in Ventura County, primarily in the Oxnard region, are dedicated to growing strawberries (little wonder the Annual California Strawberry Festival is held in Oxnard). Celery, lemons, avocados, tomatoes, peppers and nursery stock are grown profitably in and around Oxnard, contributing to Ventura County being ranked 10th nationally in farm revenues.
Oxnard Harbor District/Port of Hueneme
Since the port’s designation as a U.S. Port of Entry and the establishment of Foreign Trade Zone #205, the Port of Hueneme has become one of California’s busier seaports. International businesses use the Port of Hueneme as their trade gateway between North and South America, Asia, and Europe.
The Port’s regional economic impact and its direct and indirect job spinoff function spotlight its position as one of Ventura County’s premier economic development engines.
The Port of Hueneme has more than 256,000 square feet of on-dock refrigerated transit space serving fresh agricultural shippers and refrigerated ocean carriers. These facilities position the port as a busy player in the United States for fresh fruit and produce cargoes.
A high value commodity handled at the Port of Hueneme includes the import and export of automobiles and other rolling stock. Automobiles make up the greatest percentage of the District’s ocean freight operating revenue and the Port has up to 34 acres of dedicated terminal land for use by its automobile customers. The District has contracts with three vehicle distribution companies for the handling of vehicles transiting the Port. These companies perform pre-delivery inspection and technical service on the vehicles followed by the coordination of their inland transportation to regional dealerships. These three vehicle distribution companies are BMW of North America, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) and Global Automobile Processing Services, Inc (GAPS).
The Port of Hueneme’s geographic location, close to the greater western regional automobile markets, along with the Vehicle Distribution Companies’ productivity and attention to the auto industry are central to the establishment of the Port as an important automotive gateway center.
In addition, the Port of Hueneme has introduced a Real Estate Business Line in an effort to diversify its business base. The District’s Business Line is responsible for the acquisition, development and rental of industrial/commercial real estate necessary for the development and operation of the Port of Hueneme or for the accommodation and promotion of commerce, navigation or fisheries inside the boundaries of the Oxnard Harbor District.
The port’s success is due, in part, to its geographical position less than 60 miles from the greater southern California market. Its unique location, near the Santa Barbara Channel, also makes Hueneme a primary support facility for the coastal offshore oil industry, as well as serving an active commercial fishing industry.
Flexibility of facilities, innovative services and attention to customer needs add to the Port of Hueneme’s attraction. Near-dock rail service is provided by the Ventura County Railroad to the Union Pacific mainline in nearby Oxnard.
Naval Base Ventura County
NBVC is a major aviation shore command and a Naval Construction Force mobilization base providing airfield, seaport and base support services to fleet operating forces and shore activities. NBVC and its tenants (over 100) employ more than 19,000 personnel (military and civilian). NBVC contributes significantly to the economic health of the area, with an economic impact exceeding $1.2 billion in 2006, as reported in an Economic Impact Study commissioned by the Workforce Investment Board of Ventura County.