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January 8, 2013

FARM BEAT: President of Modesto-based squab processor to retire

Bob Shipley meant to go to law school but ended up in the company of young pigeons favored by fine chefs.

He will retire Friday after 32 years as president of Squab Producers of California, a Modesto-based outfit that is the nation’s largest processor of this kind of poultry.  Shipley has seen it through good times, when a strong economy built demand, and tougher times more recently with the rising cost of corn, which is 90 percent of the birds’ diet.

"This company is healthy and comfortable, but not as profitable as it was in the ’80s, ’90s or early 2000s," he said Thursday at the plant, just east of Crows Landing Road.  The company is a cooperative owned by 65 squab growers, most of them in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and others as distant as Marysville and Fresno. It was founded in the Bay Area in 1943 and moved to Modesto in 1983. Dalton Rasmussen, a Hughson-area squab grower with experience in food processing, will be the next president. Read More

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