John Lindt

John Lindt 

Hibbett Sports will replace retailer rue 21 at the 212 N. 12th Ave., location, says LA developer Dave Paynter. The clothing retailer has shuttered about a third of its network of stores, including the location here.

Hibbett Sports Inc. operates sporting goods stores in small and mid-sized markets, predominantly in the South, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest but is now coming to California, says Paynter.

The company offers an assortment of quality branded athletic footwear, apparel and equipment at some 1,047 retail stores in 33 states.

Kings & Tulare dairies apply for methane program

Looking for help to install technology to capture methane emissions, Kings and Tulare dairies made up more than half the applications for funding being sponsored by CDFA.

With applications now closed, six dairies in Kings County and 16 dairies in Tulare County are requesting $1.5 to $3 million each to help capture and use biogas.

Funding awards are expected in September and competition is keen for at least some funding.

CDFA will allocate $29-$36 million from the total $50 million appropriation as incentives to support digester projects on California dairy operations. Remainder of the funding appropriation will incentivize development of non-digester practices to reduce methane emissions through the Alternative Manure Management Program.

Of the funds available 36 applications totaling $76 million were received, about double what will be awarded.

Among the Kings dairies seeking funding are Wreden Farms, Cloverdale Dairy, Hollandia Farms, River Ranch and Still Water. Most plan to deliver biogas by pipeline to the SoCal system for use as R-CNG for vehicle use with cooperation from other nearby dairies.

New state rules require large dairies cut their methane releases with a plan to not only reduce the emissions but put them to use as renewable fuel.

Olive growers expect big crop - hope for trade action against Spain

Valley table olive growers are looking at a big crop coming off the trees this year, says Adin Hester president of the Tulare County-based Olive Growers Council. ”All that moisture helped the trees grow a good crop this year,” says Hester, noting that growers are awaiting a UDSA estimate but are expecting about an 81,000 ton volume. That would be up from 65,000 tons last year and 72,000 tons the year before.

“Now the big program will be harvesting the large crop,” says Hester, worried there may not be enough labor to bring in the crop in a timely way.

Reacting to news that the US International Trade Commission recently voted to continue an investigation into whether imports of ripe olives from Spain are unfairly subsidized and being sold at below fair market value, the agency voted there is a “reasonable indication” that U.S. producers are being injured - Hester says the next move would be for the Department of Commerce to put a duty on Spanish olives. For years they “have been just killing our food service industry sales” argues Hester.

Hester adds that California’s ripe olive acreage has declined over the years from around 38,000 acres to just 18,000 acres. ”We are simply being driven out of business.”

Pistachio exports to China/Europe surge

California pistachio growers are enjoying a surge in exports based on the bountiful nut crop already in the bin, according to the Administrative Committee for Pistachios. The latest report shows that through June of this year, the industry has exported 370 million pounds of nuts compared to 117 million pounds through June of last year and 192 million pounds the year before.

Of the 370 million pounds sent overseas, 203 million pounds were shipped to Asia, mostly China and Hong Kong. Last year at this time we had shipped just 37 million pounds to Asia. Western Europe has gobbled up 105 million pounds so far this year versus 60 million pounds this time last year.

While exports of pistachios have climbed to 370 million pounds, domestic shipments this year total 165 million pounds compared to 109 million pounds thru June 2016.

Clearly both the home front and overseas consumer markets are firing on both cylinders.

Pistachios were a $178 million crop in Kings County in 2016.

Estimates for the entire year suggest a billion-pound crop may be expected by 2018.

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

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