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Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,479
SimonB Offline OP
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Orange Juice Prices Could Skyrocket After Freeze Destroys Most Of California Output

Tuesday January 16, 2007
It's not a place where they often talk about the cold.

But farmers in California aren't thinking about much else this week, and you may soon be sharing their distress.

The freak cold snap that has left oranges from the Golden State frozen amid icicles on the trees could send the cost of your morning glass of OJ skyrocketing.

New figures show that three days of below freezing temperatures have destroyed as much as three quarters of the state's $1 billion citrus crop, a devastating blow unseen since a similar spell in December 1998 left growers with a $700 million loss.

It's believed 50-75 percent of all crops were lost to the weather, and while the farmers tried to save what they could before the big blast hit, a labour shortage kept them from getting to much of it.

"When you're already cutting ice within the oranges, you know those are gone," laments Philip LoBue, who represents a growers' trade organization.

It's believed the loss could total some $960 million.

It's some bad weather in a place 3,000 miles away, so what does it mean to you? A lot if you buy fresh fruit or juice.

Last November, the makers of Tropicana warned they might have to raise prices on their popular orange juice juice by 12.5 percent in 2007, because of a devastating disease that ravaged much of Florida's citrus crop.

With the California output now also in doubt, it's possible the cost of your next morning glass of fruit juice could soar at local supermarkets in the coming weeks.

Also affected by the sudden snap: avocados, strawberries, blueberries and lemons.

The lower half of California sometimes gets the occasional cold snap, but officials admit they've rarely seen anything like this.

Kids were out sledding in normally warm San Diego this week as snow blanketed the city, and in Los Angeles, residents were forced to don winter gear when temperatures plummeted to just above the freezing mark.

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,955
Global warming does weird things. Ohio will soon be prime vacation land. I have several acres if anyone's inetrested in building a 300 room complex with a monorail.

I will have a Belikin -- put it on klcman's tab.
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 289
simon-i wonder if this will "heat up" the little debate with citrus growers moving to the new co-op


Having just spent the last 27 years of my life in the San Joaquin valley, of the things I find most interesting about the recent citrus freeze is the reports that a good portion of the crop could have been saved but there is a shortage of field laborers. Direct connection to all the uproar about undocumented workers. For all the complaints about "them" taking "our" jobs, American citizen workers could not be found to do the field labor. Now the entire nation, and a good portion of the rest of the world, will be impacted at the grocery store.

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,429
Texas placed webcams on the Mexican border so that people can sit and watch illegal aliens enter the U.S. on their home computers. The web site is free. however, it costs you twenty dollars if you want to watch them have sex on the fence.

If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 162
I would be very interested in finding out how field workers can save a crop from a severe freeze. Somewhere between 10-20 million illegals in the country, open borders, and a shortage of field workers?? Smudge pots are illegal but were used anyway but failed to save much. Wind machines just spread the damage around. Please let me know so I can share with others.

Danza, a little reading goes a long way. I've spent my entire adult life in the San Joaquin valley and handled a fair amount of crop loss cases; I'm not aware of any place in the central valley which still uses smudge pots and would be interested to know the basis of your opinion regarding the use of wind machines, as this widely-accepted practice has been proven effective, even though limited in extreme temperatures.

An article in the January 16, San Francisco Chronicle noted that freezing temperatures hit California's citrus fruit, ruining as much as 70 percent of the crop. It now appears that the most recent freeze will easily surpass the impact of the last serious freeze in 1998. It's a larger area than was hit in 1998 and the damage is more significant. Growers spent sleepless nights operating wind machines that push warmer air down to the ground. The technique can boost the temperature 5 degrees or so, but that's not sufficient when temperatures in the low and mid-20s persist for six hours or longer.

California farmers had harvested about 30 percent of lemons and navel oranges before the freeze, leaving the remaining amount of the crop still on the trees, most likely ruined. California's chronic shortage of farmworkers worsened the problems. Farmers wanted to speed up the harvest to try to beat the freeze, but no additional field workers were available. The government is again hearing an increased call for a guest worker program.

California's citrus crop is valued at $1.3 billion to farmers, and the avocado crops, valued to farmers at $350 million, also have been damaged severely. While citrus supplies were already in the retail pipeline when the freeze began, they were expected to last only a week to 10 days and the market will then set higher prices as those supplies diminish. That's going to impact everyone.

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 162
I'm just wondering at what number of illegals it would take to get enough to pick a crop that would all hit the market at the same time. Many years the cost of picking the crop is greater than the value of the crop itself. Then the crop is left to fall on the ground. So I don't see what good it would do to try to pick all this fruit at that same time. It would freeze in the bins in the grove, or on the truck, or on the dock at the packing house. The wind machines here in Riverside did more damage to the neighbors grove then it did good to the grove it was intended to help. And as is the case locally the damage is now to the trees not the crop. The crop was written off several days earlier. Where I got my information is first hand locally, and as you stated temperatures this severe are beyond wind machines being of any use. Smudge pots were used here in Riverside knowing they are illegal, but again ineffective. Yes LC I can read the paper too. I'm just wondering if we don't have enough field workers out of the 10-20 million illegals how many would we need, maybe 100 million. I just hate to see growers losses being used to justify more illegals coming in to apparantly not become field workers. The stats are that less than 2% are now field workers. But I do agree maybe a guest worker program is in order, and less illegal immigration.

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 170
That devil of a president we have here in the US said last night, once again, that he thinks a guest worker program is a good thing. The Democrats are, for the most part, dead-set against it (since it's a Bush plan). Of course many Republicans are, too.

Seems you have to join the lonely girls and boys club and go with the Pres on this one, eh Law? ;-)

Here's five bucks. Pass me an orange, would you?

I was going to get a life, but this was easier.
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