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CDI Closing Los Banos Plant /more

California Dairies closing Los Banos milk plant

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 6.31.41 AMCalifornians continue to drink less milk and now the industry is contracting. Visalia-based California Dairies Inc says it will close their Los Banos milk plant in March resulting in the layoff of 63 workers.

CEO Andrei Mikhalevsky says “Unfortunately, the declining volume of milk in California is affecting the entire dairy industry, and CDI is not immune.”

“These reduced milk volumes, combined with the high cost of operating our Los Banos facility, are the sole drivers behind the decision.”

The Los Banos plant produces fluid milk, milk powders, cheese and condensed products. The milk powder market is oversupplied and prices  this winter are near 2009 lows.

Regards fluid milk, California a continues to drink less –  with  sales down 3.3% through 2017 mid-year according to CDFA.

The co-op will longer make cream cheese products as a result.

Raisin variety cuts labor costs

Harvesting raisins is likely the most labor intensive crop in the Valley and farmers are busy looking for ways to cut costs. At a recent San Joaquin Valley Grape Symposium in Easton  farmers heard a UC expert talk about Sunpreme raisins.

“The vines can be pruned by machine and then the dried raisins can be harvested by machine,” said Matthew Fidelibus, Extension Specialist with the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis.

Traditional dried-on-vine varieties require workers to cut the stems above clusters of grapes to initiate the drying process before being mechanically harvested.  Sunpreme raisins are different in that the variety “dries naturally after ripening, so the fruit just ripen and then they start drying, so there’s no cutting needed,” Fidelibus stated.

Along with examining the performance of Sunpreme raisins using different rootstocks, Fidelibus has been evaluating the most effective trellising technique at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.  Fidelibus and his team have been looking at “optimizing the trellises for machines to make sure that we can take the best advantage of the opportunities that this new variety offers in terms of being able to machine prune and machine harvest.

Central Valley Project water meetings set

The Bureau of Reclamation has added an additional meeting and postponed a meeting to give the public more time and more opportunities to provide comments as it prepares an environmental impact statement for Revisions to the Coordinated Long-term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, and Related Facilities.

Three public meetings have now been scheduled to gather comments that will be used to develop alternatives to the proposed action. A meeting scheduled for Jan. 16, 2018, in Los Banos has been postponed a week to give the public more time to prepare and attend the meeting.

The new meeting schedule is as follows: Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 2-4 p.m. at the Stanford Room, 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento.  Wednesday, Jan. 24, from 6-8 p.m. at Los Banos Community Center, 645 7th St, Los Banos.A third meeting will be in Chico.

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