Madera County is located in the exact center of California, in the heart of the Central Valley and the Central Sierras. It is one of the fastest growing counties in California. Fresno County borders on the south, Mariposa and Merced counties on the north, and Mono County to the east.
It is located approximately 20 miles from the Fresno Metropolitan Area, 166 miles from the Bay Area, 240 miles from Los Angeles, 88 miles from Yosemite, 160 miles from Pacific beaches. The County is located in the center of state, in an agricultural area. Longitude - W120 7 degrees and Latitude - N3648 at the Madera Airport. Advantages: Freeway 99, an all season freeway allowing access year round; positioned to take advantage of increasing export trade in Pacific Basin; reasonable proximity to Silicon Valley. Disadvantages: none significant.
Advantages: Receptive to industry; local elected officials likewise. Adequate housing supply; housing and land costs significantly lower than Fresno; close proximity to recreational areas.
1,374,160 acres; 2,147 square miles. The exact (surveyed) geographical center of the State of California, stretching from the rich San Joaquin Valley to the crest of the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountains in the contiguous United States. Bordered on the north by the Chowchilla River and on the south by the San Joaquin River, the County includes some of the richest agricultural land in the nation.
Click here to download the 2009 crop report.
To review previous annual crop reports, click here.
Chowchilla and Madera. Unincorporated communities: Ahwahnee, Bass Lake, Berenda, Coarsegold, Fairmead, Madera Ranchos, North Fork, Oakhurst, O'Neals, Raymond, and Rolling Hills.
Valley climate is warm and dry. Average maximum temperature in July - 99F, low - 62F. Average maximum in temperature in January - 48F, low - 33F. Frosts possible December through February. Hottest day in July, 1979 - 106F. Coldest day in December, 1979 - 26F. Rainfall average 12 inches. Relative humidity at 4 p.m. varies from 17 to 22% in summer and 50 to 70% in winter. In the mountain communities winter temperatures average 24F to 30F minimum and rise to a maximum of 85F to 95F in summer. Snowfall around 3,000 feet averages 7 inches. Above 5,000 feet winters can be severe with year round snow on the highest ranges. Foggy season, January through February. Advantage: Flood and storm damage potential, low. Disadvantage: None significant.
Three high schools, more than 30 public elementary schools; 35 parochial and private. Nearby colleges: California State University-Fresno, Fresno City College, Madera City College, Merced College, Fresno Pacific College, National University and Kings River College (Madera and Oakhurst extensions).
Highest point - Mt. Ritter, 13,157 feet. Lowest point - 180 feet. Chowchilla - 237 feet. Madera - 282 feet.
ECONOMY & EMPLOYMENT
The 1999 annual average statistics show the civilian labor force for Madera County to be 52,700 with an unemployment rate of 11.7%. Agriculturally oriented counties tend to have higher unemployment rates and greater seasonal variations in unemployment. The state's unemployment rate is 5.2% for the same year.
Agriculture is the largest industry in the county, accounting for 29.9% of the employment. Government, another significant sector, accounts for 19.5% and services makes up 16.8% of the total.
Manufacturing, services, and government are the industries that will provide most of the jobs in Madera's future economy. Manufacturing is projected to provide 1,720 new jobs by 2002, a 50% increase from 1995. Services shows a projected growth of 2,200 new jobs with most of the job growth in the health services sector. Government is projected to provide 860 new jobs, a 14% increase, with the growth occurring at the state and local government level.
Madera County is projected to grow at a rapid pace and the growing population will need a range of goods and services that should, ultimately, fuel the regional economy.
Five County Supervisors and one County Administrator. Madera and Chowchilla have City/Manager governments. County Seat -Madera.
Two general hospitals with 101 bed capacity. 65 physicians, 32 dentists, 15 chiropractors, 16 optometrists, three convalescent hospitals (253 beds), eight ambulances, and three rest homes.
Chowchilla and Madera City Industrial Parks offer up to 50 acre sites priced from $8,000 to $32,000 per acre. Light and heavy industrially zoned land in the County includes over 2,000 acres in four large County areas, all with rail access and near highways.
The central valley has more than 300,000 people within a 30 minute drive. Advantages: Low wage base; generally non-union area. Little strike history. Numerous training programs available, including OJT. Studies have shown that transition from farm laborer to industrial worker are favorable.
Over 100 manufacturing and processing plants producing wine, glass bottles, cardboard boxes, fiberglass insulation, olives, printing, dairy products, refrigeration, food processing equipment, plastic and concrete pipe, cotton and cotton products, construction and building products, machinery, sprinklers, lumber, corn and grain products, and miscellaneous food items.
Check in advance for visiting hours: Sierra-Mono Indian Museum (North Fork), Sugar Pine Railroad (Fish Camp), County Museum (Madera), Old Town (North Fork), and Fresno Flats Historic Park (Oakhurst). Tours of wineries and industries by advance arrangements only.
One daily and four weekly newspapers, three radio stations, cable TV systems, seven valley UHF TV stations received direct.
Between 1990 and 2000, Madera County's population increased by 39.8%. The State of California's total population growth for the same period was 13.6%. According to the State of California, Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division, a projected population of 224,600 persons by the year 2020 will amount to an impressive increase of 151% over the 1990 population figure of 89,300. According to the current US Census, the population of Madera County, as of 2000 is 123,109.
One six screen theater, 15 parks, two golf courses, rodeo grounds, auto race track, three small theater groups, four community centers, Bass Lake, Mammoth Pool, Millerton Lake, Eastman Lake, Hensley Lake, Berenda Reservoir and several smaller lakes. The mountain area includes part of Yosemite National Park, Devil's Postpile National Monument, Sierra National Forest, Minarets Wild Area, John Muir Wilderness and Nelder Grove of giant Redwoods. The mountain areas contain numerous public and private camping facilities. Jackass Rock Camp offers permanent facilities for large groups. Annual events include the County Fair at Chowchilla, the Chowchilla Stampede and National Roping Championship, Coarsegold Rodeo, Madera District Fair, Old Timers Day, North Fork Loggers Jamboree, Oakhurst Mountaineer Days, Oakhurst Flea Markets, Squirrel Cage Theater in North Fork, Golden Chain Melodrama in Oakhurst and numerous Bass Lake boating events, plus, 4th of July fireworks.
Highway 99 links the County with the entire State. Highway 41 serves the Southern entrance to Yosemite. Highway 49 (The Golden Chain) starts at Oakhurst and runs north through the historic California Gold Rush Country in the Sierra foothills. Highway 152 links Highway 99 and Interstate 5 for a direct route to the Coast and the San Francisco Bay area. Highway 145 runs south from Madera to the Morro Bay/Pismo Beach area. Continental Trailways and Greyhound buses serve the valley. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads serve the valley area and Amtrak stops in Madera. Airline service is available in Fresno. Madera has local Senior Citizens bus, taxi and Dial-A-Ride services. There are 27 common carriers and 10 general-haul truck lines. United Parcel Service is available.
Electricity and natural gas are supplied by Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Chowchilla and Madera provide municipal water and sewer services. Several Maintenance Districts and Mutual Water Companies supply water and sewer service in the unincorporated areas. Pacific Bell services the valley and Sierra Telephone Company and Ponderosa Telephone Company serve the mountain areas.