Packers to pay record price for California raisins

Fewer acres, higher demand and competition from the region's wineries pushed the raisin industry's packers to pay a record $1,700 a ton for the 2011 crop.

The Fresno-based Raisin Bargaining Association - a group representing growers - reached an agreement with all of the industry's 13 packers recently.

Earlier this summer, at least two packers were paying $1,700 a ton. Now, all of the packers are paying that price.

"The raisin packers had to step up and get more competitive to get growers to make raisins this year," said Glen Goto, president of the association.

One of the reasons for the competition came from the region's wineries. Growers always have the option of making raisins or selling their Thompson Seedless grapes to the wineries to be made into juice concentrate.

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