Richard Price, Butte County’s Agricultural Commissioner, announced today the beginning of the walnut buying period to allow the purchasing of walnuts by non-processing buyers will commence October 25.
This purchasing period begins at the conclusion of the Chandler Walnut harvest, the completion date is set in consultation with a committee of growers. Sellers of walnuts are still required to provide proof of ownership of any walnuts they sell and buyers are required to record proof of ownership when purchases are made.
According to the Butte County Department of Agriculture, walnuts are the highest valued crop in the county, totaling a value of $234,540,000 in 2012. There are approximately 37,970 acres within the county dedicated to producing the cash crop. Because of the high value, there have been many thefts of walnuts. The intent of the Butte County Walnut Theft Ordinance is to deter efforts by individuals to illegally access orchards to collect walnuts and try to sell them.
“There has definitely been an increase in illegal nut theft activity due to the increased value of walnuts in recent years,” Commissioner Price said.
The county board of supervisors unanimously adopted the revised ordinance on May 7 of this year. The ordinance includes provisions for proof of ownership while transporting walnuts and eliminates minimum amount of walnuts that requires proof of ownership.