Tomato rich future looms in California

Despite water shortages, softer consumer demand and a record crop, California processing tomato farmers and industry officials are feeling optimistic.

"Yes, we have challenges," said Don Cameron, a Fresno County tomato farmer. "But in the long term we are going to see increases in tomato production in California."

This year, the industry is set to handle its biggest crop ever, an estimated 13.3 million tons, up 15% from last year.

The state produces 95% of the nation's processing tomatoes, with Fresno County the leading grower. Last year, the county's crop was valued at $364 million.

But while a shortage of irrigation water decreased acreage in Fresno County, it only dropped 5% to 102,000 acres this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read the complete story at