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Agribusiness

Agribusiness

Agriculture has been the leading economic industry in Tulare and the Central San Joaquin Valley since its earliest days. Today, Tulare and Tulare County remain at the top of agricultural production in the U.S. In fact, Tulare County is recognized as the nation’s second most productive agricultural county and boasts the highest dairy production output of any other county in the U.S.

More than 250 commercial crops are grown in Tulare County. Dairy, namely milk production, tops the list of commodities produced here. Other major products coming out of Tulare County include oranges (Navel and Valencia), grapes, cattle and calves, corn (grain and silage), pistachios, nectarines, alfalfa (hay and silage), peaches (Cling and Freestone) and almonds (meats and hulls).*

food manufacturers

The area is well-suited for food manufacturers and distributors, as well, with some of the nation’s largest food processing companies located in Tulare County. Land O’Lakes operates the nation’s largest and most productive single-site dairy complex in Tulare. Ruiz Foods/El Monterey is the largest manufacturer of frozen Mexican food products in the country and has two plants in Tulare County – one in Dinuba and a second in Tulare. Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream/Haagen-Dazs has been in Tulare since 1985. Today, the Tulare plant is one of only two in the U.S. to produce Haagen-Dazs products.

Other notable companies related to the ag industry operating in the area include Kraft USA South, Saputo Cheese USA, U.S. Cold Storage, Golden Valley Dairy Products, J.D. Heiskell & Company and Tulare Cultured Specialties.

Several area resources are available for businesses, professionals and students involved in the agriculture and food processing industries:

INTERNATIONAL AGRI-CENTER – The Tulare-based International Agri-Center is a nonprofit corporation committed to encouraging awareness and support of California’s agricultural industry. The center hosts a number of ag-related community activities and events throughout the year, most notably the World Ag Expo (the largest annual agricultural exposition in the world) and the California Antique Farm Equipment Show. The International Agri-Center also houses the Heritage Complex Building and AgVentures! Learning Center and Antique Tractor Museum, a multi-purpose, year-round agricultural learning center that pays tribute to this major industry – past, present and future. The dedication and time of more than 1,200 volunteers make the center and its programming a success year after year.

SCE’S ENERGY EDUCATION CENTER-TULARE – Operated by Southern California Edison (SCE), the Energy Education Center-Tulare is an educational resource center providing information on the latest in energy management and energy efficiency. The facility in Tulare focuses on energy solutions for the agribusiness industry, offering hands-on demonstrations of new technologies, interactive displays, technical consultations and relative workshops and classes.

TULARE CENTER FOR AGRICULTURE & TECHNOLOGY – College of the Sequoias (COS) has enhanced its influence on the region’s agricultural industry with Tulare Center for Agriculture and Technology. Taking the place of COS’s Agriculture Campus in Visalia, the center now furnishes some of the most advanced technology in agricultural science and agribusiness, and supplies a comprehensive agricultural-based education program.

cows

COS in Tulare opened in January of 2013; there is an 86,000-square-foot general and agricultural education building, the 14,000-square-foot farm power shop/welding shop and the modern Farm Animal and Horticulture Complexes. The next addition to the Tulare Center will be the Vocational Education Building. Should this funding be approved, the building will open in 2014. Future plans for the Tulare Center include the addition of facilities to create a comprehensive college campus. Ultimately, Tulare College will be born as a second college in the Sequoias Community College District.

UCCE TULARE COUNTY – Also having a presence in the area’s agribusiness sector is the University of California, Davis, which operates a cooperative extension in Tulare. The UCCE Tulare County supports the local agricultural community by offering a dairy research facility in Tulare and a number of ag-related programs and events.

*Source: Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner

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