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  • Drop in almond prices could affect local growers

    Jan 28th, 2016


    Almonds are America's favorite nut, surpassing peanuts in popularity in 2014.

    "You eat the nut, but you also eat almond butter, almond flower. It's used for a variety of things in the confectionary industry," said almond farmer Jenny Holtermann.

    And while Holtermann said almonds are highly versatile, their price is highly volatile.

    Their popularity caused their wholesale price to soar to $4.70 a pound last August. Many farmers jumped on the almond bandwagon causing a saturation of the market which drove down the price to $2.60.

    Defaults by traders in Asia and the Middle East created uncertainty for buyers which also contributed to lower prices.

    Holtermann said she has yet to feel the effects of the price drop.

    If she does, she'll have to make adjustments.

    "We may not buy as many tractors or as much equipment this year as may have in the last past years," Holtermann said.

    She said some farmers with older orchards may have to take them out and replace them with younger, higher-producing trees.

    And while almonds are one of the highest yielding crops in the county, second only to table grapes, the county assessor's office said in the big picture, it's a drop in the bucket for county revenue.

    "When it comes down to it, a decrease in the commodity price of almonds really isn't going to affect the county in any way shape or form," said supervising appraiser in the agricultural department Jerel Hansen.

    Holtermann said she works with a lot of other industries to harvest and transport her crop, so it's not just growers that will be affected by low prices.