FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — In central California, investors and farmers are lining up to buy almond, pistachio or walnut orchards — or any land suitable for growing nut trees.
Farmers in the Central Valley are seeing record-high revenues due to high demand for fruits, nuts and vegetables. Investors both foreign and domestic have taken notice, buying up farmland and driving up agricultural land values.
Almond producing land has driven the land-buying boom. In 2011, for the first time ever, the value of California almonds surpassed the state's iconic grape industry to move into second place, behind dairy.
Experts say demand for almonds — and hence for almond land — is driven largely by the growing middle classes in China and India.
Some worry the land investment boom could lead to overproduction and hurt local farmers.