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Foreign Olives Still A Problem For California Growers

The Olive Growers Council of California  announced reaching agreement this past week with the major black ripe olive processors for prices to be paid to table olive growers for their 2012 olive crop.
Following several weeks of negotiations with OGC, Bell Carter Olive Company, Corning and Musco Family Olive Company, Tracy both agreed to the following price schedule that mirrors what growers received for the short crop of 26,566 tons harvested in 2011. The current industry estimate for the 2012 crop ranges from 85,000 to 95,000 tons.
“Although the growers had hoped for improved prices for medium, large and extra-large Manzanillo olives because of minimum inventories, the industry has an imbalance of both small olives and canning size Sevillano variety,” said Adin Hester, President of the Olive Growers Council. “In the final analysis, we are pleased the processors recognize the importance of providing a positive vision of California’s table olive future by maintaining stable prices for growers as we deal with a market that is being greatly impacted by imported sliced olives for food service along with government aid programs that encourage foreign countries to produce and sell olives in the U.S.”
The 2012 price schedule represents some of the highest paid in industry history at $1250 for Extra Large Manzanillo olives.
Unfortunately, for growers to survive financially, they need to produce good yields per acre on a consistent basis which has not been the case. Within the last six years, growers have had two successful crops and four failures thanks to weather related issues….frost damage to buds, hot weather during bloom and rain during pollination.
Of the two table olive districts, Northern California and the Central Valley, there is a strong crop in the north and modest crop in the south. As the industry approaches harvest in September, there is currently concern that adequate labor will be available to hand harvest the 2012 table olive crop.
The latest USDA Olive report shows food service sales of California olives is up 15.66%.

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