The Economic Development Department Reports Parts of Central California's Fruit Packing Hub has Reached an Unemployment Rate of 29%

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The Economic Development Department reported in parts of Central California's fruit packing hub the unemployment rate has grown to a devastating 29%. A record amount of Central California's fruit packing plants and cold storages are now for sale or coming up for sale according to Schuil & Associates, a leader in farm sales in Fresno, Tulare, & Kings Counties.

One shed should close escrow any day and we have had lots of activity on our other facilities too

A record amount of Central California's fruit packing plants and cold storages are for sale, according to Schuil & Associates, a leader in farm sales in Fresno, Tulare, and Kings Counties. Michael Schuil, broker for Schuil & Associates, states "Seven large packing/cold storage operations are either for sale or were recently sold in and around the Reedley and Dinuba area alone."

Family owned fruit packing facilities have been the economic backbone of many rural California small cities. The closure of even one fruit packing plant can have repercussions, but the closure or consolidation of two or three operations can be devastating. Reedley, a farming community of 23,000 in Fresno County, has been especially hard hit. The Economic Development Department reported that Reedley's unemployment rate has grown to a devastating 29%.

Many of the sales or closures have been the result of losses due to the farming side of the business as opposed to the profitability of the packing facilities themselves. California's fruit packing plants up for sale typically specialize in the packing of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, and other specialty fruits. Many of the packing facilities have expanded into citrus lines, especially with the popular mandarin and tangerine citrus varieties that are grown in the Central Valley. Cold storage and marketing business are also tied into most facilities.

Several of the remaining packing plants have softened the economic blow by taking on additional growers. The unusually light 2009 crop has enabled the existing facilities to rescue growers left without a packer for their fruit. The additional packages processed through the remaining packing plants should give the owners an economic boost to get through the season.

Schuil & Associates has success when it comes to marketing California's fruit packing plants up for sale. "One shed should close escrow any day and we have had lots of activity on our other facilities too," states Schuil. Most prospective buyers are fruit packers looking to improve their operations, but other clients have a different business plan for the buildings.

Whether fruit packing plants sell to an existing fruit packer or to a related industry, the goal is to get the properties sold and operating again. Schuil & Associates has been selling agricultural real estate since 1983 and has seen cycles before. Although the current cycle is severe, Schuil is confident that the growers and packers will rebound soon.

Schuil & Associates website has a list of properties for sale in the Central Valley of California. Buyers may contact Schuil & Associates to locate specific California fruit packing plants for sale or ask for an evaluation on their property.

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Michael Schuil
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