Over the past 30 years, the agricultural landscape of the southern California’s Coachella Valley has changed dramatically. According to Managing Partner of Prime Time International Mike Way, it has been disappointing to watch growers leave the area over the years.
Based in Coachella, Prime Time International is a year-round supplier of bell peppers and also grows winter vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and artichokes. Way said that lower costs of production in other areas have led many producers to leave Coachella.
Agnetwest.com quoted Way as saying: “The grape business went from about 10.5 million cartons to this year – they just finished this week harvesting – it will be about 1.9 million. So, you’re looking at about eight million boxes difference.”
Vegetable production in the area has also followed a downward trend, with many producers moving operations into other areas like Yuma, Arizona. “Yuma is a 2.5-hour drive and it’s about $1.50 a box less to produce any item there due to the overtime laws. The labor in Yuma is different than it is in California and all the regulatory stuff we have to deal with. So, we’ve lost a lot of the agricultural community in the Coachella Valley.”
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