From the Modesto Bee:

In a room in the Minturn Nut processing plant in Le Grand, 26 women wearing masks and hairnets stood over conveyor belts, sifting through almonds.

They were looking for ones damaged by insects or worms. Their deft hands plucked at the nuts with single focus as traditional Mexican music played over the loud hum of the machines.

Roy Martinez is the plant manager for Minturn Nut Co. Inc. He said the company has been able to cut back on its employee hours recently since it installed new mechanical laser sorters that presort the nuts.

"The amount of tonnage that we're running, the technology is going to affect our overall employment," he said. "We're going to incorporate more technology to advance our company. And to keep up with other companies that are using the same technology."

The Central Valley is projected to lose 19,081 jobs in food and fiber production by 2016, according to data collected by the Center of Excellence, a division of the California Community Colleges Economic Workforce Development program.

For more, see: Advances in agriculture change nature of work in Central Valley