It could be a rotten year for California's processing-tomato growers.
The multimillion-dollar industry, which produces most of the nation's supply of tomatoes for pizza sauce, paste and ketchup, is having a huge year -- and that's a problem.
If projections hold, growers could produce the second-largest crop in history -- 12.6 million tons. The record was set in 2009 with a 13 million-ton crop.
The big crop, coupled with higher fuel and fertilizer costs, has growers concerned that unless the industry's processors give them a better price than last year -- $65 a ton -- they won't make a profit.
Lower prices could also drive some growers, who haven't already committed to planting tomatoes, to farm higher-value crops such as cotton. That could create a smaller supply this year -- and potentially less work in the region's processing plants.
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