California’s growing olive oil industry got some good news this week while the state’s table-olive growers continue to struggle with declining acreage.
The Clovis-based American Olive Oil Producers Association has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prioritize the research needs of the industry.
The grant, part of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative, will allow the producers association to bring together industry leaders and researchers to determine the most effective ways to gather and share current research.
Experts from UC Davis, Texas A&M, the University of Georgia and the University of Florida are expected to participate in the project.
Meanwhile, growers of table, or canned olives, have finalized their 2016 price negotiations with the state’s two canneries, Musco Family Olive Co. and Bell Carter Foods. The price for extra large manzanilla olives is $1,300 a ton, while sevillano olives were $1,300 a ton for the super colossal size. Other prices varied depending on the size and variety.
Olive Growers Council chairman Michael Silveira said that the industry has experienced a “massive reduction” in table olive acres in California as farmers look for more profitable crops.
Silveira said California table olive acreage peaked several years ago at 38,000 acres but dropped to 15,000 acres and is still declining.
“It’s a sad moment in time when we see the U.S. market continue to purchase imports and sell increased table olive tonnage at the expense of our growers and processors,” Silveira said.