RAC/CRMB Weekly Update
To: All Members, Alternates, Packers, Staff, and Interested Industry Partners

Raisin Industry News and the Work of the Raisin Administrative Committee and the California Raisin Marketing Board, by Gary Schulz, President and General Manager

August 26, 2014                          


Deliveries to Handlers
Final Report for the 2013-2014 Crop Year (sweatbox tons):
Tonnage            Varietal Type                      
364,794              Natural Seedless                 
     4,925             Dipped Seedless                              
   21,402             Golden Seedless                            
     2,885             Zante Currants                        
          58             Sultanas                                        
            0             Muscats                                         
          85             Monukkas                                    
  10,469              Other Seedless                         
       530              Other Seedless Sulfured            
405,149              Total                                    

19,843 tons were organic:
         18,654       Natural Seedless
               266      Dipped Seedless
               169      Zante Currants
                   8      Monukkas
               747      Other Seedless


Final Shipment Report for the 2013-2014 Crop Year (packed tons):
Tonnage            Varietal Type              Tons Shipped in ‘12-13       % inc
345,566              Natural Seedless...................293,233...................... +18%
     3,555             Dipped Seedless.......................3,369.........................+6%
   17,629             Golden Seedless.....................17,629........................ +1%
     2,873             Zante Currants........................ 2,732..........................+5%
          53             Sultanas........................................57.......................... -8%
            0             Muscats......................................... 0............................ 0
          94             Monukkas......................................71........................+32%
     8,403             Other Seedless........................8,523............................-1%
        462             Other Seedless Sulfured.............390........................ +18%
378,635              All Varietal Types..................325,777.........................+16%


Top 20 Shipment Destinations for Crop Year 2013-2014


Natural Seedless


Packed Tons



YTD Rank


YTD Tonnage

Previous YTD tonnage










United States





United Kingdom








































South Korea



































New Zealand










Hong Kong












*Historically a large volume of China exports are transshipped directly to Japan.


Carry-in inventory:
Tonnage (sweatbox tons)             Varietal Type
138,215                                         Natural Seedless
     1,341                                        Dipped Seedless
     7,116                                        Golden Seedless
     1,858                                        Zante Currants
             8                                       Sultanas
   0                                        Muscats
         146                                       Monukkas
      5,786                                       Other Seedless
         672                                       Other Seedless Sulfured

RAC reports may be found at www.raisins.org

Upcoming RAC Meetings

Thursday, October 2, Raisin Administrative Committee.
(Note: other Subcommittees and workgroups will also meet.     Details are currently being developed.)


Actions of the California Raisin Marketing Board

At the May 27 CRMB meeting, the Board:

  • Established a $0 assessment for the 2014-2015 crop year
  • Approved a budget of $671,300
  • Approved a contract with Fleishman-Hillard for “California Raisins: Sweet Naturally” for $600,000 from the Special Assessment

Actions of the Raisin Administrative Committee

At the June 26 meeting of the RAC, the Committee:

  • Heard a presentation by Almond Board of California CEO Richard Waycott regarding their global marketing efforts and their success in China
  • Voted to increase the assessment rate for 2014-2015 from $14 to $20 per ton
  • Voted to pay the Merchandise Incentive Program from 8/1/14 to 1/31/15 from the unallocated portion of the Reserve Pool
  • Heard presentations regarding proposed changes to 989.80 and 989.81
  • Approved an action to remove the term “midget” from 989.702
  • Approved attendance at the International Dried Grape Conference in Argentina
  • Approved the annual meeting with the Japan Dried Fruit Importers Association (JDFIA) for March of 2015 in Maui, Hawaii
  • Approved the hiring of Imalinx as the RAC’s International Marketing Representative in Mexico

At the July 23 meeting of the RAC, the Committee:

  • Approved a budget of $7,424,580 based on a $20 assessment rate (as voted on at the June 26 RAC meeting). Note: until USDA approval of the increased assessment, the RAC will operate on the $14 per ton assessment expense budget as presented by management at the June 26 RAC meeting.
  • Viewed a presentation by staff of the expanded export marketing plan relevant to the increased assessment rate.
  • Approved the Merchandise Incentive Program (MIP) from 8/1/14 – 1/31/15 in the same countries and with the same terms and conditions as previously approved.

At the August 14 meeting of the RAC, the Committee:

  • Approved the e-Compliance Plan as presented by staff
  • Approved elimination of the term “midget” from the U.S. Standards for Grades of Processed Raisins
  • Recognized the calculated trade demand for Natural Seedless raisins of 275,529 tons and declared the natural seedless varietal type 100% free with no volume regulation or trade demand for the 2014-2015 crop year.
  • Recognized the calculated trade demand for all other varietal types (Dipped Seedless, Golden Seedless, Zante Currants, Sultanas, Muscats, Monukkas, Other Seedless and Other Seedless Sulfured) and declared them 100% free with no volume regulation or trade demand for the 2014-2015 crop year.
  • Approved a global raisin marketing analysis Request for Proposal (RFP) not to exceed $300,000 with the final report due by 12/31/14
  • Approved a China marketing agency RFP for a six month project of $900,000 beginning 1/1/15 contingent on approval of the $20 assessment rate by USDA.
  • Heard a report of the Governor’s trade mission to Mexico

Objective Measurement Report Available

The USDA National Ag Statistical Service (NASS) in cooperation with CDFA and funded by the Raisin Administrative Committee has released the 2014 Objective Measurement Survey of California raisin grape acreage and projected production.

The report may be found at: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/California/Publications/Fruits_and_Nuts/201408rgrpom.pdf

Thompson grape market unsettled: Glut in wine might push some growers to raisins

By Robert Rodriguez, The Fresno Bee, August 15, 2014 

Two years ago, growers of the versatile Thompson seedless grape were being wooed by the raisin and wine industries as competition for their fruit pushed prices to record highs.
But factors have changed this year and wine grape buyers expect prices to tumble. How far remains to be seen. Some say the $325 a ton many central San Joaquin Valley farmers received in 2012 from wineries is not likely to be repeated.
"There is little activity to almost no activity from wineries that are traditionally buying grapes this time of year," said Nat DiBuduo, president of the Fresno-based Allied Grape Growers. "They are just not out there."
DiBuduo and others say a rise in imported bulk wine, competition from other beverages and healthy inventories of wine have weakened demand for Valley raisin grapes.
In good years, the raisin grape varieties grown in the Valley are used to make juice concentrate, brandy or kosher wine.
But back-to-back bumper crops have filled the tanks at the wineries.
"We are at the point where we are facing capacity issues," DiBuduo said. "It's like: There is no room at the inn."
Also working against California grape growers are bulk wine imports from Australia, Argentina and Spain.
Winemakers also are facing tougher competition from the growing craft beer, hard cider and distilled spirits industries, said Erica Moyer, partner/broker at Turrentine Brokerage in Novato.
"There is no question this is going to be a challenging year," Moyer said.
Several farmers say that with seemingly little interest from the wineries, making raisins may be a better option.
"This year, I am seriously considering it," said Paul Lanfranco, a Kerman-area grape grower.
"It would be nice to compare what the wineries are paying but at some point I am going to have to make a decision."
Lanfranco, who has about 400 acres of raisin variety grapes, has talked with one packer who said the price may fall in the range of $1,700 to $1,800 a ton.
The actual raisin price still is being negotiated between the industry's packers and the growers representative, the Raisin Bargaining Association.
Glen Goto, chief executive officer of the association, is optimistic about this year's crop and price. Last year, California raisin farmers produced a bumper crop and the industry packers still managed to increase sales by 18% over the previous year.
This year, poor weather and the drought have contributed to a smaller crop.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates this year's raisin crop will be 13% smaller.
"Even though there is still some question about how many acres will go to make raisins or go to the wineries, I am still very optimistic we can move the volume because of what we did last year," Goto said.
Goto would like to see at least the same price growers received last year: $1,650.
They achieved a record price in 2012 at $1,900.
"We would like to start at $1,650 and go from there," Goto said.

California Raisins Back to School
by Melinda McAllister, CRMB Marketing Specialist
The School Nutrition Association is a national, nonprofit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  Larry Blagg, Senior Vice President of Marketing, and Melinda McAllister, CRMB Marketing Specialist, attended the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Boston in July.  The goal of the tradeshow was to showcase California Raisins as a naturally nutritious and delicious option for schools.  We shared the message; “¼ cup of California Raisins is equal to 1 fruit serving” to over 3,500 attendees.  Today most school districts are serving up to three fruit servings per day and raisins can be served for breakfast, lunch and/or an after-school snack. 
Our new school foodservice raisin recipes were well-received.  Turkey Sliders with a Sweet and Spicy Raisin Sauce, Yogurt Parfaits with Apples and Cinnamon Dusted Raisins, and Nutty Cocoa Chew Bars were among some of the favorites.  These recipes and more are available on www.LoveYourRaisins.com.
The California Raisin team created some excitement on the last day of the conference and Ms. Donna Campbell, Foodservice Director for Alhambra Elementary School District in Phoenix won a notepad!   All the visitors to our booth picked up raisin samples and received a follow-up communication with additional school foodservice raisin recipes.   


Congratulations Vaughn Koligian

Vilsack Names Members to Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee


Release No.: 176-14
AMS Public Affairs (202) 720-8998

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2014 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees the 25-member Committee, which will meet up to two times per year to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on issues affecting the fruit and vegetable industry.

“I thank these members for dedicating their time to this committee,” said Secretary Vilsack. “With over $40 billion in sales, the fruit and vegetable industry is an integral part of this country’s economy. And of course, fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. I look forward to hearing the Committee members’ recommendations on the many important issues facing their industry.”

Committee members represent a broad cross-section of the industry, including fresh fruit and vegetable growers, shippers, wholesalers, retailers, industry trade associations, importers, processors, foodservice suppliers, brokers, state departments of agriculture, organic producers and marketers, and farmers markets and food hubs. As representatives of various sectors of the industry, members bring diverse experiences and perspectives to help USDA understand the impact of its programs and how to improve upon its services.

Originally chartered in 2001, the Committee has met 14 times and developed over 60 statements and recommendations on issues ranging from food safety to school nutrition to USDA programs. AMS oversees the Committee to ensure that it is administered according to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Members are nominated by their peers. In order to create staggered terms, 11 of the members will serve two-year terms while 14 will serve three-year terms.

The following members will serve two-year terms on USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee from 2014-2016:

• Virginia Barnes, Barnes Farm, Hastings, Fla.;
• Richard Ha Jr., Hamakua Springs Country Farms, Hilo, Hawaii;
• Ricke Kress, Southern Gardens Citrus, Clewiston, Fla.;
Paul Newman, Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers/ Columbia Valley Fruit, Wenatchee and Union Gap,Wash.;
• Robert Nolan, Deer Run Farms, Brookhaven, N.Y.;
• Christopher Puentes, Interfresh, Inc., Orange, Calif.;
• Jennifer “Jin Ju” Wilder, Valley Fruit and Produce Co., Los Angeles, Calif.;
• Vaughn Koligian, Sun-Maid Growers of California, Kingsburg, Calif.;
• Diane Smith, Michigan Apple Committee, Lansing, Mich.;
• Beth Knorr, Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, Peninsula, Ohio; and
• Brent Roggie, National Grape Cooperative Association, Westfield, N.Y. and Concord, Mass.

The following members will serve three-year terms on the committee from 2014 - 2017:

• Ben Burkett, B&B Farms, Petal, Miss.;
• Helen Dietrich, Ridgeview Orchards, Conklin, Mich.;
• Kristine Ellor, Phillips Mushroom Farms, Kennett Square, Pa.;
• Richard Hanas, A. Duda and Sons Inc., Oviedo, Fla.;
• James Alan Johnson, Carzalia Valley Produce, Columbus, N.M.;
• Lorri Koster, Mann Packing Company, Salinas, Calif.;
• Jorge Vazquez, Latin Specialties, Houston, Texas;
• Andy Shoemaker, Taylor Fresh Foods, Salinas, Calif.;
• David Yanda, Lakeside Foods, Manitowoc, Wis.;
• Tiffany Boaldin, Golden Eagle Casino-Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, Horton, Kan.;
• Thomas N. Williams, Spartan Nash, Edina, Minn.;
• Catherine Burns, Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.;
• Carlos Castaneda, Castaneda and Sons, Arroyo Grande, Calif.; and
• Roland McReynolds, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Pittsboro, N.C.;


Staff Changes
Recently the RAC/CRMB has seen two staff members depart. Ron Degiuli, Vice President of Accounting and Finance, retired effective August 26 and has been replaced by Cheryl Kennedy, CPA, formerly of the Central California Endoscopy Center.
RAC International Programs Coordinator Chris Rosander departed recently to become the Director of International Market Development at Sun-Maid Growers of California. A search is currently in process for his replacement. Interested parties in the position should contact Sierra HR Partners:budke@sierrahr.com who are handling the recruitment.


Upcoming Industry Events

Ag Roundtable
Friday, August 29, 7 a.m., Marie Callendar’s, Cedar and Shaw, Fresno
Taste of California Trade Show
September 10, Fresno
Sponsored by the Centers for International Trade Development
For information, go to: http://fresnocitd.org/services/taste-of-california-trade-show-and-conference/
USDA-AMS Annual Industry Meeting for Contractors and Suppliers in USDA's Commodity Purchase Programs

October 28 & 29, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel-Washington DC-Crystal City, Arlington, VA
 For information, go to: Notice to the Trade: Fall 2014 Annual Industry Meeting for Contractors and Suppliers (PDF)

Annual Ag Awards

October 29, TorNino’s

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 Agriculturalist of the Year award and the 2014 BPF Ag Business Award.

For more information, contact 559-495-4800 or info@fresnochamber.com; or 559-432-2346 or mail@bpfcpa.com.
Agribusiness Management Conference
November 5, Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, Fresno
For information, go to: www.csufcab.com
International Conference of Seedless Dried Grape Producing Countries
November 9-12, San Juan, Argentina
For information, contact Carlos Javier Huertas Garcia at carloshuertasj@gmail.com
Grape, Nut and Tree Fruit Expo
November 18, Fresno Fairgrounds
For information, go to: http://www.agexpo.biz/cvgrexpo.html

Unified Wine and Grape Symposium
January 27-29, 2015, Sacramento
For information, go to http://www.unifiedsymposium.org/
International Nut and Dried Fruit Congress
May 22-24, 2015, Antalya, Turkey
May 2016, San Diego, CA, USA
For information, go to www.nutfruit.org

Gary Schulz, President and General Manager
Raisin Administrative Committee