Limoneira announces two-year Arizona fallowing program
Limoneira Company has announced its engagement with the Yuma Mesa Irrigation and Drainage District in a two-year fallowing and forbearance program.
According to a statement, the program will target approximately 400 acres of farmable land on its Associated Citrus Packers ranch in Yuma, Arizona. For the duration of the agreement, more than 1.3 gallons of water will be saved and retained in Lake Mead as Colorado River System Conservation Water, annually.
With the Lower Colorado River basin in a declared shortage and reduced allocations now being enforced in Arizona, the company is continuing in its efforts to farm its lands in the most efficient manner possible.
Harold Edwards, the company’s President and CEO pointed out that Limoneira has “long been an advocate of prudent and efficient water management and continue[s] to be a leader in conservation and preservation efforts within the greater Western United States.”
“With today’s agreement, we will not only help to further our sustainability initiatives through efforts to minimize fresh water shortages to residents in Arizona and the Lower Basin, but also create value within our existing asset base”, he stated.
In addition to water conservation, the program will convert previously unprofitable acreage into profitable land with an estimated annual increase in operating results of $1 million.
“We continue to evaluate all potential options for our assets with the goal of further deleveraging the company’s balance sheet and unlocking significant value for our shareholders”, the CEO added.
Currently, the Arizona ranch operates 900 acres of productive lemon orchards and 400 acres of other crops and facilities with access to the Colorado River for crop irrigation. However, with the fallowing program in place, it will have approximately 700 acres of productive lemons, 400 acres of fallowed land and 200 acres of other crops.