1. From the modest beginning in 1978, the Olive Growers Council has had a positive impact on olive prices as is revealed in the following graph.
It should be noted that even in years where prices do not increase, the importance of negotiating with processors has the effect of keeping a stable price floor. Without the council, prices could drop into the basement as is evidenced in 1978 when farmers received barely the cost of picking the olives.
2. Although olive acreage has been reduced, olive tonnage has steadily climbed reflecting the better prices being received by farmers through bargaining. Now that new plantings are increasing, the need for a strong bargaining association becomes even more important.
3. To insure even better protection under state law, the Council helped introduce and successfully pass two amendments to the agricultural bargaining act. The first, AB 1944 passed in 1983, added the requirement that processors and bargaining associations negotiate together in a spirit of "good faith." "They must meet at reasonable times and for reasonable periods of time in an honest attempt to reach final agreement on price and terms of contract."
The second major amendment, AB 2500, was passed and became law January 1, 1990. It added a dispute resolution process. If the bargaining association and processor cannot reach final conclusion, either the association or the processor can file with the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture for "conciliation."
4. The council has taken the lead in the battle against foreign imports of black ripe olives as we work to preserve our market - a market that was developed and paid for with farm dollars.
5. Certain chemicals are needed to allow farmers the opportunity to produce consistently good olive crops. Although proven safe, we must continually fight to keep safe materials from being banned as environmentalists seek to eliminate all agricultural chemicals.
6. The Council wholeheartedly supports the Federal Marketing Order that provides for advertising and promotion of California quality black ripe olives. Each year Council members attend several events including the California State Fair to tell people about olives, give out olive samples and recipe booklets to further promote and encourage the sale of California table olives.
7. The Council is called upon to be the spokesman for the olive industry at many statewide events.
8. The Council serves as a center for information to growers as we send out production information, keep members advised of changes in labor, pesticide and other regulatory issues.
9. The Council has added millions of dollars to farmer returns over the last 10 years through the price negotiations.