A bad year for olive growers

Sep 3, 2014 8:01 PM

"It is a salvage operation this year."

Tehama County olive grower Ross Turner grows both table and oil olives on his orchard. He started picking olives three weeks sooner this year.

"The labor pool is not going to influx. The basic pool here know is going to be deleted as more people require labor."

He says the labor force in California has been decreasing for years. Labor workers are wanting more money for work.

"Migrants are going into alternative income sources where there are benefits, scholarships, and health programs."

Like many others in the North State the drought is making life as an olive grower difficult.

"I have one orchard we didn't have any water in the canal."

Turner is paying more for water than he has in the past due to low water levels.

"We are paying more in utility costs to provide our water, irrigating 24 hours a day paying peak rates."

Turner claims he is getting 55% to 60% of his projected water value, but water isn't his only problem. He expects little income from the fruit this year.

"Everything is escalating, the price escalated somewhat, but in no way to cover the added costs."

His biggest worry is next year. Turner says it could get worse.

"We don't know if it comes back if we have any early Fall or a decent Winter if those trees are going have any fruit on it a year from today because of the hardship they have had to endure."


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