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Around Kings County

Mid-Year Report: Kings Construction Activity At Half Throttle

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 1.17.37 PMThe value of all building permits in Kings County at the mid-year mark is under half what it was during the same 6 month period in 2016. Construction Monitor reports that permits for $57.4 million were issued so far this year, compared to $120.2 million through mid-2016. Both residential and commercial activity is lower this year.

So far this year, local jurisdictions have issued 104 single-family home permits compared to 178 through mid-2016. So far, the county’s’ busiest home builder is Blue Mountain Construction Service who is building a new subdivision in midtown Hanford called Greenbrier Terrace, with 32 new permits this year. Last year at this time the busiest contractor was Lennar with 44 home permits.

Commercial construction is down this year as well, at $19.1 million compared to $57.2 million through mid-2016. Last year the top category was commercial solar projects valued at $22.9 million. So far this year, the same category has recorded about $2 million in what are smaller projects, although the number is similar. Construction of motel, retail and industrial projects have also fallen off this year.

New Home Construction Could Rebound

The past 6 months may have been slow for new home construction in the county but there are about a dozen projects waiting in the wings in Lemoore and Hanford alone including annexations. Case in point, San Joaquin Valley Homes has started construction on their first phase at Mountain View, a new residential neighborhood located at the northwest corner of 11th and Houston in Hanford, that will offer 32 single-family homes. The subdivision is expected to be complete in February 2018.

Chicken Production Up In Kings County

More so-called broiler chickens are roosting in Kings County these days noted in the recently released 2016 Kings County Crop Report – now listing 5.27 million head sold last year in the county compared to just 27,000 a year before. The category includes more than chickens (ducks, goats, etc) but almost all are indeed, chickens.

Local ag officials are not saying why Kings County has seen a surge in poultry but it could be how companies report their flocks. While Kings County has never been known for chicken farms, next door Fresno County has been a huge poultry raising county with the 2012 Census of Agriculture listing the population there at at 12.3 million.

One key change has been the coming of Sanger-based Pitman Farms to Kings County as well as their expansion in Tulare County with the company investing millions in new growing houses and feed facilities (Hanford) in the past few years.


Area Pistachio Processors Expanding Again

This fall’s Valley pistachio crop is big again this year and local processors are making more room again this summer.

Through May of this year California shipped nearly 500 million pounds of the popular nut, eclipsing 2013/14 at 351 million pounds through May of that season.

The 2016 pistachio crop was a bin buster at 905 million pounds, largest ever for this alternate-bearing tree. This fall’s crop, 2017/18, is estimated to be around 650 million pounds says Setton Pistachios CEO Lee Cohen, the number two processor behind Wonderful Pistachios.
I think all the processors are growing incrementally” he says,”including us.” Cohen says the company is building a 30-acre reservoir to recycle waste water near their Pixley plant this summer as well as new 60,000 sf warehouse expansion in their Terra Bella headquarters.

Also, Valley-based Horizon Nuts is expanding their new facility 5 miles south of Firebaugh, in a project being heard July 20 by the Fresno County Planning Commission.The company wants to permit a new 42,000sf pistachio huller processing facility. Specifics include a huller, seven dryers, bin stack ,fumigation, guard shack and office as well as shop buildings. There would also be the installation of nine 48-foot high storage silos to hold hulled nuts waiting for shipment off-site for processing ,a truck scale and parking. The county application says the plant will employ up to 150 during the peak season and have 24 employees the rest of the year.

In Kings County, Pistachios were the number four crop in 2016, valued at more than $178.5 million. The crop in 2015 suffered a lack of chill hours, cutting production that year. Prices for pistachios dropped around 30% in 2016 from the year before even as the state’s acreage grows.

RoundUp To Be Listed As Cancer Causing

The State of California has vowed to add GLYPHOSATE, Roundup, the nation’s most-used herbicide, on their list of chemicals known to cause cancer. The state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment said this week that the listing would be effective July 7. Manufacturer Monsanto said they will continue a legal battle to stop the listing.

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