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Secretary of the Interior Meets with California Farmers

A few growers were recently invited to meet with Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to explain our position on California water. Fresno County is the number one agricultural county in the United States. We live in a very unique environment that allows us to feed not only a great part of the nation, but also the world. Governor Newsom just introduced a plan that will prioritize any and all available water, and agriculture is at the bottom of that list. We are concerned about his knowledge of our needs and nervous that this limited resource continues to be divided…

dormant grape vineyard with puddle of water, blue sky with clouds above
HMC News – January 2022

We’re starting the new year with a good amount of precipitation on the books already this winter, and a gorgeous view of the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains from our office. September-December of 2021, we received 7.52″ of rain on our farms, compared with only 1.89″ in the same timeframe in 2020. We have already blown past the 7.07″ total for Sept 2020-June 2021, and more rain is likely on the way over the next couple of months. In December alone, we received just over five inches of much needed rain on our farms, which is a big step forward from…

Woman packing plums into boxes in a packing house
The Cost of Doing Business in California Agriculture

While everyone is a little bit tired of hearing about inflation, our products are far from immune from the cost increases seen in other parts of the economy. Cartons and other packing materials have gone up in excess of 15%, chemicals and fertilizer in the field have increased substantially with some products more than doubling, and labor has become in short supply and more expensive. Farmers in California are not only looking at regular per hour wage increases, but have also completely lost agriculture overtime exemption (only one of two states in that situation). The latter not only makes activities…

McClarty family in a peach orchard
Reflecting on 2021 and the future of California agriculture

Next year will be better. We live by this credo, which some find irrational. The onerous circumstances we must navigate in California agriculture to produce better tasting fruit each year are getting increasingly more difficult, and have yet to reach an inflection point. Inputs, whether they are labor, water, or materials, haven’t just become more expensive, but at times they have become unavailable. If you read our newsletter on a monthly basis, you are aware of some of the creative ways in which we are trying to keep costs from continuing to rise. We want to keep our products as…