Limoneira Company a diversified citrus growing, packing, selling and marketing company with related agribusiness activities and real estate development operations, announced its engagement with the Yuma Mesa Irrigation and Drainage District (“YMIDD”) in a two-year fallowing and forbearance program at the Company’s Associated Citrus Packers ranch in Yuma, Arizona.
The Lower Colorado River Basin is currently in a declared shortage with reduced allocations now being enforced in Arizona. As a leader in sustainability, the Company is continuing in its aggressive efforts to farm its lands in the most efficiently manner possible. Where water savings can be achieved, its efforts will continue to present opportunities for it to assist in regional attainment of water management objectives and monetization benefits to the Company.
This specific program targets approximately 400 acres of farmable land on the property over the duration of the agreement and will result in excess of 4,200 acre feet (or more than 1.3 billion gallons) annually of saved water that may be retained in Lake Mead as Colorado River System Conservation Water. In addition to conserving natural water resources, the program converts previously unprofitable acreage to be profitable with estimated annual increase in operating results of approximately $1.0 million.
Limoneira’s Associated Citrus Packers ranch includes 1,300 acres of land, comprised approximately of 900 acres of productive lemon orchards and 400 acres of other crops and facilities with access to the Colorado River for crop irrigation. The Company cultivates, harvests, and packs fruits and vegetables for sale within the Limoneira family of brands as well as third-party contract partners.
With the fallowing program in place, Limoneira will have approximately 700 acres of productive lemons, 400 fallowed acres and 200 acres of other crops. The Company will continue to leverage its existing supply chain for the 700 acres of lemons and expects to add more grower partners in the Yuma, Arizona area into its supply chain in the coming year. This would result in more lemon volume than Limoneira previously generated.
Harold Edwards, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are excited to finalize and enter into this fallowing program with the Yuma Mesa Irrigation and Drainage District at our Associated Citrus Packers ranch. At Limoneira, we have long been an advocate of prudent and efficient water management and continue 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. 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.”