John Lindt

John Lindt 

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project began the water year 2018 - Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018 - with 8.9 million acre-feet of water in six key CVP reservoirs (Trinity, Shasta, Folsom, New Melones, Millerton and San Luis Reservoir. This is 145 percent of the 15-year average annual carryover of 6.2 million acre-feet and 4 million acre-feet more than the amount we saw the year before. 

"2017 was an incredible water year, and we are pleased to have bountiful water supplies," said Regional Director David Murillo. "Now we are focusing on balance. We are heading into winter with our reservoir levels at a safe place with respect to flood control, should we experience another wet winter. At the same time, we believe we have conserved healthy storage levels in the event that we have a dry winter.”

Hopes for Kings County’s first real rain are fading this week (chance of slight precipitation Friday says the National Weather Service) even though the wet front coming in from the Pacific Northwest is helping to douse those terrible Wine Country wildfires.

Investment firm buys Valley nut property from Olam

Olam International announced in late September that it has sold 5,100 acres of its farmland assets, nut orchards in the Central Valley - to Farmland Partners Inc., one of the largest farmland real estate investment trusts in the US, for $110 million.

Olam has also entered into a revenue sharing model where it will pay them a share of the annual revenue while it continues to operate the orchards for a period of 25 years.

Farmland Partners is a real estate company that owns and seeks to acquire high-quality farmland throughout North America. It owns more than 300 farms with an aggregate of 154,000 acres across 17 states.

Olam’s Managing Director and CEO of Edible Nuts, Ashok Krishen explained the transaction: “As part of our Edible Nuts strategy, we intend to further invest in growing almonds, pistachios and walnuts in California. We have built a sizable portfolio of prime orchards and have adopted sustainable and industry-leading agricultural practices in managing these orchards. We had been looking for the right partner who sees the long-term value of farming, while we are looking for an asset-light model to participate in the production economics of the tree crops. Farmland Partners, whose success is based on strong partnerships with farmers, is, therefore, a strategic fit for our business model.”

More than half of state farmers experience worker shortage

California farmers and ranchers face chronic problems in finding and hiring qualified and willing people to work in agriculture, according to a non-scientific survey conducted by the California Farm Bureau Federation.

The informal survey of Farm Bureau members shows that more than half of responding farmers had experienced employee shortages during the past year. The figure was higher among farmers who need to hire employees on a seasonal basis — 69 percent of those farmers reported experiencing shortages. The results are similar to a survey CFBF conducted in 2012.

John Lindt is an independent business reporter. He can be reached at sierra2thesea@gmail.com

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