The Salida Hulling Association is a cooperative, owned by member growers. It is another aspect of farming, and a way for growers to control their product. It is not a processing facility. It is the first step after harvest, for the removal of hulls and shells. Nuts are then sent to other facilities for slicing, dicing, flavoring, etc., and then on, eventually, for distribution to consumers.
I understand the opposition to the huller relocating to Dakota Avenue and Highway 132 (Maze Boulevard), but I don't understand how families can move into an agricultural area, have their ranchette and then try to control the area around them. They moved into an active farming area, but they don't want any changes.
Farming is a living, breathing entity, and as such it is always changing.
The huller proposal has been addressed at many meetings. The planning commission has approved the location. Still, the neighbors are not happy, and they filed an appeal to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.
Dakota Avenue is a county road that feeds onto Highway 132. It already has a lot of traffic. Do the opponents believe that country roads should be used only by the people living along them? Aren't public roads free for anyone to travel?
Trucks from other hulling facilities already travel this road. These include almond and walnut hullers. Hullers should be located near the orchards where the nuts are grown; that only makes sense economically.
If we could limit the traffic on a road based on our likes and dislikes, and our perception of what amount of traffic would be allowable, we would all live on private lanes.
Hulling almonds is not a year-round operation. Our harvest period usually lasts for no more than 90 days, depending on the weather. Salida Hulling studied several sites and chose this one.
Like it or not, we do not live in a static environment. Our rural neighborhood is experiencing growth, like all others. As more and more families move into our farming areas, we have to adapt, often to meet the ever-increasing restrictions on our businesses. We deal with dust control permits and plans. We upgrade our equipment to meet air pollution control requirements. We change our methods of farming to conserve water.
We adapt to survive. If we do not or cannot adapt, we sell to someone who will.
Ranchette owners also need to be prepared to adapt to changes in the farming area where they choose to live.
Boer's farming family grows almonds, but is not a member of Salida Hulling Association. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.