CCM held its annual Citrus Showcase in Visalia on March 2. Record crowds attended the event, with the luncheon program being the main attraction. The program was a group discussion on marketing with some of the best minds in the business. The panel included chief executive officers from Wonderful Citrus, Sun Pacific, Bee Sweet Citrus and Sunkist Growers. “It was an opportunity for growers to understand what dynamics are affecting them this season,” Nelson said.
CCM’s president also talked about how this season is faring with all of the rain. “We have a short crop — shorter than we have had in the last couple of years — and the rain has slowed down harvest,” Nelson said. “The biggest problem we are going to have is making sure none of the fruit is adversely affected by all of the rain … The packing houses will work a little slower just to make sure it’s quality fruit getting into the carton.”
Nelson added that despite the weather during harvest, the industry is confident about this year’s crop. “Other than (the rain), the season has gone real well. Prices are good. People are enjoying the fruit, and the demand is great. Exports are moving solidly. We are pretty bullish that we are going to have a good season, albeit we still have more than 50 percent to go.”
Citrus Showcase attendees also got an update on the Asian citrus psyllid program. Cooperative Extension Citrus Entomologist Beth Grafton-Cardwell said there have been 34 trees confirmed with huanglongbing in California. All have been in residential areas of the Los Angeles Basin and have been removed. Nelson said the industry helps fund the program with around $15 million a year, and growers need to know they are getting a return on their investment.