February 17, 2006
Del Monte: No more Hawaiian pineapples
Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., has announced it will cease pineapple production in Hawaii during 2008.
Approximately 700 employees of the company are involved in pineapple production in Hawaii. Del Monte said it is no longer economically feasible to grow pineapples in the state due to high production costs compared to other parts of the world.
Del Monte leases land from landowner Campbell Estate and the two have not been able to negotiate a long-term contract with financially viable terms, a Del Monte spokesperson said. Hawaii officials are concerned that the two other pineapple producersDole Food Hawaii and Maui Pineapple Co.might also leave the state.
Hawaii annually produces more than 200,000 tons
of pineapples. Competition for markets has been
increasing from countries with low-cost labor including Thailand,
the Philippines, Brazil, China, India and Costa Rica.
City might annex
land to build dairy
It's happening in Claremont, a small town east of Owatonna, where the city council voted Jan. 25 to take on the study as a means to promote economic development. The focus of the study is the proposed 2,140-cow Ripley Dairy with its potential annual payroll of about $960,000.
The push for the dairy began three years ago. It has received all necessary permits from the county and state. Supporters say all permitting boards have voted unanimously in favor of the project.
Switch grass potential
great as ethanol source
Although the energy return of producing ethanol from switch grass is more than seven times greater than that for corn, breaking down those tough grass fibers into fuel is difficult and expensive.
Though pilot plants working on the concept of what is commonly called "cellulosic ethanol technology" have been discussed and even operated at times on a small scale in California, Idaho, Kansas and Louisiana, there are no commercial operations in the U.S.
None are in the works, even though Brazil has replaced 50 percent of its gasoline needs with ethanol made from sugarcane cellulose in just 15 years.
Fresh market vegetable
production down in 2005
Harvested area covered 1.94 million acres, down less than 1 percent from comparable states in 2004. Value of the 2005 crop is estimated at $9.82 billion, up 1 percent from comparable states a year ago. The three largest crops, in terms of production, are onions, head lettuce, and tomatoes, which combined to account for 37 percent of the total production. Tomatoes, head lettuce, and onions claim the highest values, accounting for 36 percent of the total value when combined.
For the 24 selected vegetables and melons estimated in 2005, California continues to be the leading fresh market state, accounting for 44 percent of the harvested area, 48 percent of production, and 47 percent of the value.
Consumers like flex-fuel vehicles