2015 FIELD PRICE NEWSLETTER

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2015 RBA NATURAL SEEDLESS FIELD PRICE

2015 has been a challenging year for the Raisin Bargaining Association to establish pricing. With the industry coming off a crop production of 303,890 tons it was apparent that the previous year’s record shipments would be compromised. However, packers were still able to move roughly 320,000 tons despite having to compete against a bumper dried-grape crop from Turkey, in export markets, that allowed buyers to resist last year’s increased RBA field price of $1,775 per ton. Although California packers did well to move its share of dried-grapes into export markets, we did lose a large percentage of the previous year’s foreign shipments. It also appears that many European dried-grape customers have loaded up on low priced Turkish product and are not anxious to commit to further purchases.

This situation has created a difficult bargaining process for this year’s crop. We have documented that Turkey’s production will drop by 40% due to spring frosts and hailstorms. At this point in time, even though California has estimated a minimal increase in production of 7% from last season, the market has not reflected the looming worldwide short supply of dried-grapes. Strength of the U.S. currency, Chinese economics, and worldwide financial insecurity have all impacted the negotiation with our packers for this year’s production.

Currently, the Association has agreements with enough signatory packers to handle nearly 50% of member’s potential production. We are continuing to work on details of that agreement to have all signatory packers on board and will make the proper announcement through press releases and statements when we complete the task. All parties are thoroughly frustrated at this point in the process and hopefully will reach a quick conclusion.

IN MEMORIUM

The Raisin Bargaining Association suffered the loss of founding director, Robert “Bob” Loquaci from Madera, on October 31, 2015 in Madera. Bob’s stature in Madera was a key component in the formation of the RBA by convincing other growers of the importance of working together to achieve fair pricing for the industry. He was elected to be the first President of the Association by his peers which was an indication of the RBA’s credibility to those considering whether to join the new group. During his leadership tenure with the RBA, he testified in Washington DC about the need for imported raisins to pass U.S. food safety standards. The application of this regulation on imported raisins has been a critical benchmark keeping California raisins the standard for domestic consumer and ingredient based purchases which account for approximately 200,000 tons of sales per year. He also served on the Raisin Administrative Committee, California Association of Winegrape Growers, and dozens of other commodity boards. Mr. Loquaci was very involved in helping young agricultural enthusiasts through FFA and 4-H. He also co-founded the Madera Ag Youth Association, which helped students purchase livestock to raise and show at the Madera County fair. Robert Loquaci is survived by his wife Dora, sons David and Leslie, and several grandchildren. As we offer our deepest condolences to the Loquaci family, we will always be grateful for his initiative and support of the RBA.

CALIFORNIA RAISIN MARKETING BOARD UPDATE

Attorneys from the state have successfully argued and overturned the Superior Court decision to strike down the CRMB due to the lack of proper economic justification during the establishment of the marketing order. The Justices from the 3rd District Court of Appeals concluded the ruling of the Superior Court was not the appropriate standard to justify the elimination of the CRMB. They are now sending the litigation back to the Superior Court to rule on the remaining issues of the original lawsuit. The CRMB has voted to maintain limited operations and not assess growers until and unless there is a final verdict that would allow the CRMB to go forward. We are awaiting the court schedule to determine when the Superior Court will be reviewing the remanded decision.

RBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND STAFF WISH YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR!