Press Room

Economic event in Merced turned spotlight on San Joaquin Valley’s land, people and opportunity

The University of California, Merced was a fitting venue for the Regions Rise Together meeting in the north San Joaquin Valley last week. UC Merced, the youngest of the UC campuses, is the first American research university of the 21st century. Its research agenda on issues of agriculture, water supply and sustainability, forest resiliency and ag tech mirrors the future of the region and the state. It also is a university of the future in terms of whom it is educating, as interim Chancellor Nathan Brostrom told the gathering of leaders from the region, with first generation college students making up 70% of the 8,200 undergraduate student population.

https://cafwd.org/reporting/entry-new/economic-event-in-merced-turned-spotlight-on-san-joaquin-valleys-land-peopl

WE’RE BACK, BABY! FRESNO TOP AG COUNTY ONCE AGAIN

For the first time since 2013, Fresno County is the top agricultural county in California and the U.S. This news comes with the Tuesday morning release of the 2018 Tulare County crop and livestock report, which shows sales of agricultural goods produced there last year totaled more than $7.21 billion, a 2.5% increase from ag sales in 2017. In 2017, Kern County was the top ag county based on sales, followed by Tulare and Fresno counties, respectively. But based on this latest crop report and those previously released, Fresno County shot up in the rankings to the top spot, with 2018 gross ag sales totaling more than $7.88 billion, followed by more than $7.46 billion in sales by Kern County farmers, ranchers, apiarists and others.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/were-back-baby-fresno-top-ag-county-once-again/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=bfd5b60568-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_10_08_08_31&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-bfd5b60568-78934409&mc_cid=bfd5b60568&mc_eid=a126ded657

What’s needed for Valley medical school? About $25 million, feeder programs and more

The San Joaquin Valley Coalition for Medical Education held a meeting Wednesday October 16, 2019 at the Doctor Medical Center conference center in Modesto, Calif. to discuss a medical school serving the Valley.  KCARLSON@MODBEE.COM A coalition for medical education convened in Modesto on Wednesday and discussed what it will take to establish a University of California medical school serving the San Joaquin Valley. Once proposed as a medical school at UC Merced, the plan would commit UC facilities in Merced and Fresno for a medical school to address a severe physician shortage in the Valley.

How a massive Amazon wind farm promises to change a tiny town in rural America

Buried in the mountains of southern California lies a field of white. It’s not your typical farm: It produces renewable energy. The Tehachapi Pass is home to one of the largest wind farms in the world. Now a huge tech company is bringing more turbines to the area, and it is going to have an impact on a nearby community. In April, Amazon announced three new wind farm projects — two overseas, and one in the Tehachapi (teh-HATCH-ah-pee) Mountains, located in southern California. The farms will help contribute to Amazon’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and 100% renewables by 2030. The mountain range is a hub for the wind industry, with around 4,731 turbines that produce about 3,200 megawatts of electricity along the mountain range, according to the Center for Land Use Interpretation, with private companies flocking to the area because of the high wind speeds. Farther north is the Altamont Pass wind farm, which helps power another tech giant: Alphabet’s Google.

Pistachio production, revenues on the rise in Kern

If pistachios were a football team — and sometimes it does seem like they compete against almonds — they would be climbing the tree-nut power rankings. Due partly to an exceptional 2018 harvest, pistachios surged two places last year to seize the No. 3 spot in Kern’s ranking of top-grossing crops. They came in just behind almonds and table grapes, the county’s sales leader. The recent growth is phenomenal for a nut that has been cultivated in the Central Valley since the late 1960s. Kern growers’ pistachio sales jumped 91 percent between 2017 and 2018 to reach $1.06 billion, which according to county reports is more than five times their total a decade earlier.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/pistachio-production-revenues-on-the-rise-in-kern/article_e998dfa6-ec6a-11e9-9786-bf4461849821.html

Kernville, Bakersfield breweries combine for five medals at nation’s top beer festival

Kern River Brewing Co. has developed an impressive array of award-winning beers. A pair of Kern breweries took home an extraordinary five medals at the Great American Beer Festival last weekend in Denver — a testament, the local winners say, to the county’s sophisticated approach to beer-making. Kernville’s Kern River Brewing Co. took home two golds and two silvers, as well as the Brewery Group of the Year honor, while Temblor Brewing Co. in Bakersfield won bronze.

VOLT and MJC programs get $1 million grant. It could mean higher-paying jobs for area

Almost $1 million in federal grant funds will boost occupational training at the VOLT Institute and Modesto Junior College. The Economic Development Administration approved the $980,750 grant for Opportunity Stanislaus, whose mission is improving economic vitality in Stanislaus County. The grant money will purchase cutting-edge equipment used in training programs at the VOLT center and MJC.

Tesla’s Semi, solar and battery storage to help Frito Lay cut emissions at CA plant

American snack company Frito Lay has announced that they will make its Modesto, California distribution plant eco-friendly in an attempt to significantly decrease the amount of carbon-emissions the company is producing during its day-to-day operations. The snack-maker will utilize a number of companies to complete the operation, including Tesla.

https://www.teslarati.com/teslas-semi-solar-megapack-frito-lay-modesto-plant/

Gap is bringing 600 jobs to the Fresno area

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Gap Incorporated is set to begin hiring for the 2019 holiday season which will bring more than 600 jobs to the Fresno area.

The company has announced its plans to hire employees for a range of seasonal opportunities including sales associate positions, customer relations representatives and shipment coordinators at distribution centers.

It is hosting a one-day hiring event Saturday, October 5, at all Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and other Gap incorporated locations across the United States from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Most contingency offers will be made immediately after interviewing at the hiring event.

All seasonal associates will also enjoy the same merchandise discount as the company’s current associates, just in time for holiday gift-giving.

TWO VALLEY FARMING GIANTS ANNOUNCE COMPLETED MERGER

Gerawan Farms stonefruit is marketed under the Prima brand.

Published On September 25, 2019 – 1:50 PM
Written By The Business Journal Staff

Gerawan Farming and Wawona Packing Co. announced Wednesday that the farming giants have completed a merger.

CEO Dan Gerawan, who is also the largest individual shareholder, will helm the combined company. Brent Smittcamp, current executive chairman of Cutler-based Wawona, “will also remain a significant shareholder and continue to be highly involved with the combined company,” according to a news release.

Paine Schwartz, an existing investor in Wawona, is partnering with both companies to facilitate the transaction, the financial terms of which were not disclosed.

Both companies are third-generation family businesses. Fresno-based Gerawan is a stone fruit farming and packing operation marketed under the Prima brand. Wawona also supplies stone fruit and is a leader in the organic segment of the market, according to the news release.

“At Gerawan, innovating on a large scale to grow, pack and ship the world’s best fruit has been key to our success, and those efforts have always hinged on investing in our employees,” Gerawan said in a statement. “These same values underpin Wawona’s success. This merger is an exciting next step to unlock the full potential of both companies.”

The combined firm’s management team will be comprised of leaders from both companies.

“Over the last several years, we have focused on accelerating Wawona’s growth by building on the inherent strengths of our business and management team. Our acquisition last year of Burchell Nursery Inc. was one example, and now this historic merger with Gerawan takes it to yet another level,” Smittcamp said in a statement. “We are eager to bring the benefits of this merger to our employees, suppliers and customers.”

https://thebusinessjournal.com/two-valley-farming-giants-announce-completed-merger/