PBA Current EventsSept 9, 2013
Crop Insurance Plays Important RoleAugust 30, 2013
Federal Crop insurance is readily available through a number of crop insurance companies and provides an important safety net for farmers, especially this year with extremely low production in many orchards.
The USDA Risk Management Agency in its just released report, The Risk Management Safety Net: Portfolio Analysis-Market Penetration and Potential, shows that 94% of prune acres were covered by crop insurance in 2011. Contrasted to Walnuts (53%), Almonds (84%), peaches (75%), and other fruit and nut crops, prunes rank number one in terms of the highest percentage of acreage covered by crop insurance. Prunes rank high in terms of buy-up of level of protection as well.
Price selection for prunes for the 2014 crop year is expected to be announced in October. Sales closing date for prunes, walnuts, and peaches is January 31. Closing date for almonds is December 31. Be sure to contact your crop insurance agent regarding deadlines, policies, and any important changes.
"The New California Gold Rush: Agriculture"March 12, 2013
Prune Bargaining Association's 45th Annual Meeting and regional Tree Crop Conference was attended by growers, packers, and industry members who gained valuable insight on marketing opportunities, strategies, and crop outlook. The conference held February 28 in Chico, CA celebrated the milestone anniversary of PBA's founding in 1968 with discussion from PBA President Ranvir Singh, Vice-President Neill Mitchell, and General Manager Greg Thompson. PBA was proud to accept Certificates of Recognition for its service to the industry from the offices of Senator Jim Nielsen and Congressman Doug LaMalfa. In addition, PBA was presented with a plaque in Recognition and Appreciation of its Membership in the California Institute of Food and Ag Research. The tree crop conference with six guest speakers was made possible through a cooperative partnership with the USDA Risk Management Agency.
The day's program commenced with a review of PBA's recent activities including efforts to bolster the prune market and its foray into the direct exporting of member's crops to emerging markets. General Manager Thompson helped answer growers' questions about the future outlook for prunes with information on production costs and acreage trends. Guest speakers addressed topics including the outlook for nut crops, impact of the expanding middle class in Asia on California agriculture, trends in farmland values, impact and growth of biotechnology, and marketing, financing, and risk management strategies for tree crop growers.
Speakers at the meeting included –
Karen Halliburton-Barber, Senior Agricultural Analyst, Rabobank, N.A. presented information about the expansion of U.S. nut consumption in China and the current price and market factors. She also showed the acreage and production numbers in the U.S., China, and elsewhere.
Mike Evans, of Evans Appraisal Service, Inc. spoke about farm property values, factors impacting sales of farmland, and what the future outlook might be. He asked the audience what they remembered from the 1970's and 80's and what caused the collapse of property value in those days. Inflation and the value of the dollar, high interest rates all played a role. The landscape is different today compared to then. Much depends on expectations of the farmers and what drives the commodity prices. See presentation here
Skip Leach spoke on the importance of retail distribution and how grocery stores are the 'gate keepers' that control the demand for many of California specialty crops. He explained that location in retail stores is everything and there are ways to get product placed in the high traffic areas to increase sales. John stressed that managing this aspect is important to grower organizations involved in increasing demand and improving returns to growers.
Sharon Shoemaker, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director of the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research (CIFAR), spoke on market opportunities in China for California Specialty Crops such as California Prunes. She stressed that there is tremendous opportunity because of the demographics of the emerging middle class consumers; but understanding the culture and finding the right partners is critical to success. See presentation here
Buzz Minson, NORCAL Director of International Business Development for California Bank & Trust, shared information about how to finance international business transactions and how to make sure payment is received. Offer terms to buyers can provide a competitive advantage and various insurance programs can help mitigate the risk. See presentation here
Professor Martina Newell-McGloughlin, Director of International Biotechnology at UC Davis, presented examples of studies in the field of bio-technology and the many advances that have been made. She explained the widespread use and acceptance of bio-engineered crops, and stressed the need for more public education about biotechnology. See presentation here