Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fresno Supes OK Mega Pistachio Plant for Longtime Local Nut Grower
gvw_edward_smith
By Edward Smith
Published 2 months ago on
March 6, 2024

Share

Fresno County Supervisors on Tuesday approved a 98-acre pistachio processing facility near Firebaugh.

Developers say the plant will reduce the amount of necessary truck travel by 272,000 miles annually.

The Southern California law firm that appealed the project did not show up to present their objections.


Fresno County supervisors sided with the builders of a new pistachio processing plant who say a more centralized facility will drastically reduce pollution and truck traffic near Firebaugh.

Pistachio experts say the new facility comes as the region prepares for a massive influx of the nut.

Currently, trucks have to make a 50-mile round trip to Firebaugh to bring harvested pistachios to a processing facility, said Dirk Poeschel, consultant for the S. Stamoules Inc. Pistachio Processing Facility.

The new 98-acre plant at Newcomb Avenue between North and Annadale avenues would be centralized on the Stefanopoulos family’s 13,000 acres of pistachio orchards, reducing the necessary number of trips by 272,000 miles yearly.

Supervisors unanimously approved the project, shooting down an appeal from an environmentalist group calling on the builders to make it a net-zero energy facility.

“The proposed facility will literally be in the center of the Stefanopoulos family orchard and eliminate about 272,000 truck miles annually, eliminating a 25-mile plus or minus one-way trip to Firebaugh,” Poeschel said. “In other words, about 11 times around the world will be savings.”

Stefanopoulos Family One of the First to Grow Pistachios at Commercial Scale

When the Stefanopoulos family first planted pistachio trees in Fresno County in 1972, they did so as one of the first to do so on a commercial scale, Poeschel said.

The current plant near Firebaugh increases fuel and travel costs. The new facility in the center of the Stefanopoulos property would reduce harvesting costs, Poeschel said.

The plant would be built in four phases. The plant would consist of two hulling buildings, 40 dryers 29 feet tall, and 48 silos 50 feet tall. The processing facility would be 155,169 square feet.

Pistachio Harvest Could Double by 2031

Richard Matoian, former president of the American Pistachio Growers, spoke in favor of the project when it went before the Fresno County Planning Commission. He said the number of pistachios produced in California could double by 2031.

Growers first topped 1 billion pounds in 2020, Matoian said. By 2031, growers could be producing 2 billion pounds. Matoian said California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act could affect that forecast, but it’s hard to determine to what degree it would.

A 2022 study from the Pistachio Growers showed 25% of acreage had only a single source of water.

The biggest limiting factor for growers, however, is processing capacity. Seven processors represent 95% of capacity, Matoian said.

Matoian said investors would have to increase processing capabilities to meet the increased demand.

The facility will be highly automated, only needing 14 employees.

“It’s a highly automated facility, very different than the facilities that exist in the Valley now,” Poeschel said.

Environmental Appellant Didn’t Show Up

An appeal from Sunland-based law firm Advocates for the Environment concerning energy usage at the processing facility forced the project to go before planning commissioners and supervisors.

The group called for all greenhouse gas emissions to be mitigated. They also wanted the company to electrify drying units. Poeschel said the technology doesn’t yet exist to electrify pistachio drying.

Representatives from Advocates for the Environment did not show up to either the planning commission meeting or the supervisors meeting.

“This is an unnecessary delay by an outside source that caused this company a 30-day delay and doesn’t have the courtesy to show up after filing the appeal,” said Supervisor Brian Pacheco.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson Pledged $10M for Maui Wildfire Survivors. They Gave Much More.

DON'T MISS

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

DON'T MISS

Biden Marks Earth Day by Going After GOP, Announcing $7 Billion in Federal Solar Power Grants

DON'T MISS

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

DON'T MISS

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

DON'T MISS

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

DON'T MISS

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

DON'T MISS

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

DON'T MISS

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

UP NEXT

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

UP NEXT

Biden Marks Earth Day by Going After GOP, Announcing $7 Billion in Federal Solar Power Grants

UP NEXT

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

UP NEXT

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

UP NEXT

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

UP NEXT

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

UP NEXT

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

UP NEXT

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

UP NEXT

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

UP NEXT

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

7 hours ago

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

7 hours ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

Local Education /

9 hours ago

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

9 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

9 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

9 hours ago

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

10 hours ago

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

10 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

11 hours ago

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

11 hours ago

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson Pledged $10M for Maui Wildfire Survivors. They Gave Much More.

Lana Vierra misses the swing set at her Lahaina home, which was reduced to ashes in the wildfires that swept through her community last summ...

5 hours ago

5 hours ago

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson Pledged $10M for Maui Wildfire Survivors. They Gave Much More.

6 hours ago

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

6 hours ago

Biden Marks Earth Day by Going After GOP, Announcing $7 Billion in Federal Solar Power Grants

7 hours ago

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

7 hours ago

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

Local Education /
9 hours ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

9 hours ago

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

9 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend