Hundreds of California olive growers are worried about loosing their farms after Bell-Carter packaging ended numerous contracts.
Michael Silveira is the Chairman for Olive Growers Council. He says Bell-Carter has been sending out letters to valley growers ending their current contracts.
“They released approximately 350 to 400 growers.” says Silveira. “Which, could impact, we believe, approximately 6,000 acres.”
Bell-Carter released a statement saying, “Unfortunately, due to rising cost increases for California olives, Bell-Carter made the necessary but difficult decision to release many California grower contracts.”
Silveira says they have received numerous calls from furious and upset valley growers.
John Werner with Werner Farms says he is completely shocked over this decision. He says he is worried about the future of his farm.
“As of right now we have stopped all work and maintenance in here,” says Werner. “So, I should of had a crew of 25 to 30 people in here pruning these trees right now. But, we are not doing that.”
Werner says Bell-Carter’s decision of cutting contacts with numerous valley growers will tremendously hurt the valley. He says he has heard word of some growers worried about bankruptcy.
“You know the old man calling up that’s in his 80’s that’s in tears about this,” says Werner. “He was on his way to go see his attorney to file bankruptcy.”
As of right now many valley olive growers are on standby to see what they will do with their olive trees.