As raisin growers begin to prepare for a new season, most are still uncertain as to what their returns will be for their labors in bringing in the 2020 raisin crop. There is a lot of uncertainty during these unprecedented times, and with their livelihoods in limbo from year to year due to delayed price agreements between the the Raisin Bargaining Association RBA) and its signatory packers, raisin growers have been have been going through some tough times.
The RBA continues to work on their growers’ behalf in negotiating a fixed price with the processors. Over the summer their Board of Directors met and unanimously agreed to a sliding scale fixed price offer of $1,500-$1,900/ton (depending on crop size) for the 2020 raisin crop. As the packers have still not come to agreement, on January 15th, the RBA Board of Directors wrote a letter to the packers withdrawing their sliding scale MOU offer, replacing it with a new MOU offer for consideration at a field price of $1,500/ton. Packers will need to respond by 5 PM on January 29, 2021, or the offer will become void.
In this agreement, packers would make an “initial payment” of 60% of the said announced RBA field price for all deliveries within fifteen days of grower’s final delivery of meeting raisins; and a “second payment” of 20% of the field price for all deliveries would be paid by April 30, 2021. The “final payment” would need to be made by July 31, 2021.
In the RBA letter to the packers, it also reads, “In the event you do not agree to the fixed price and payment terms of this offer, then RBA recommends that we meet and confer to discuss the logistics of moving the RBA 2020-2021 crop raisins now held in memorandum storage at your location to the RBA’s receiving and storage location.”
As growers go about their trellising/irrigation repairs and winter pruning in the vineyard, they anxiously await news of a unified price agreement that has yet to be seen.