Fruit growers can expect to see a continued rise in costs due to water, labor, pests, food safety and trade. That is according to Fresno State Assistant Professor Serhat Asci, in a webinar for the World Ag Expo on Tuesday. Fruit production accounts for $18 billion and 37% of the state’s total farm sales.
Water curtailment will lead to at least a 2% decline in land for fruit farming, and 17% of that land will come out of production due to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
Strict labor regulations and increases in the minimum wage, meanwhile, will add $390 million to the cost of production.
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With pests, the spotted wing drosophila cut berry and cherry yields by 20% in 2018, lowering crop value by $660 million. Citrus greening has produced the same decline in yields at a cost of $740 million.
The Food Safety Modernization Act is leading to an additional $240 million in costs. And if trade conditions remain the same, growers can expect a $190 million – or 4% – decline in export losses this year.