Large specialty crop farmers are reassessing their spring planting plans because of rising fuel prices. Many farmers are considering planting more subsidized crops such as corn and cotton as market prices for fruits and vegetables lack stability during times like these. Also, yields for specialty crops are more difficult to predict than commodities. By making the switch, farmers might also save on fuel costs related to irrigation. Most farmers rely on diesel-powered groundwater pumps. Rising fuel costs would also directly affect fertilizer and petrochemical prices, increasing agribusiness input costs overall.
A new report issued by the Western Pistachio Association says that pistachio production has a significant economic impact on California. The industry continues to expand throughout California, Arizona and New Mexico, creating more than $682.5 million in annual revenue. The WPA study found that:
“…pistachio growers spend nearly $415.3 million each year to produce the pistachio crop. This spending spurs a wave of ripple effect economic activity that, in turn, creates 5,910 full-time equivalent jobs each year. With this increase in employment, more than $224.4 million is generated annually in wages and salaries for new employees, as well as for the expanded incomes for existing industry jobs.”
In addition, enough revenue from taxes and fees augments these aforementioned monies to supply the three-state region with almost $67,000 of funding per day.
Southern California farmers won’t be hurting for lack of water in the coming months. Precipitation in the Colorado River Basin continues to be well above average. Sensors indicate that precipitation is up 121 percent for March.