It is not practical or economically feasible to have an almond huller adjacent to every orchard, so it is necessary to transport our almonds to a plant for hulling and shelling. Salida Hulling Association has chosen a site to relocate its facilities that is in an agricultural zone, an area in which hulling is a permitted use and which brings this process closer to orchards.
A study conducted by our manager three years ago found this relocation results in travel savings of about 3,000 miles a season -- an average of two miles per load. It reduces time, labor and fuel use -- a benefit to the environment.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the same appreciation for agriculture as those of us in farming. Some want to live in an ag zone but complain about the ag environment. We at Salida Hulling Association expect to do all we possibly can to be good neighbors to those who live near our new plant. We have gone to great lengths to include the latest dust-control technology, the latest sound-control technology, the latest lighting technology and the latest hulling and shelling technology. We have responded to the myriad questions raised by our neighbors who don't want us in their back yards through the environmental impact report. We are ready to move forward.
Here in the Central Valley, we have some of the most productive farm land in the state; some have said in the world. We have people who appreciate agriculture and agree our plant should be located in the ag area close to the growers.
Another writer to The Bee believes "the problem is that many of our agriculture areas are located in between or along subdivisions." I ask that they think about this loss of prime farm land that they have contributed to.
I hope that those who live in the subdivisions and on ranchettes will someday realize where their high-quality food comes from. I emphasize high quality. Let's retain prime ag land for agriculture!
president, board of directors, Salida Hulling Association
Editor's note: The issue of relocating the Salida Hulling Association's plant to the corner of Maze Boulevard and Dakota Avenue is scheduled to go before the county planning commission Sept. 6.