Food & Farm News
August 7, 2013
Farmers press for immigration reform
With members of Congress returning to their districts for the August recess, California farmers say they will make immigration reform the main topic during visits with their representatives. The Senate passed an immigration reform bill with an agricultural program backed by farm and farmworker groups, but the House has yet to act. In Sacramento Wednesday, the acting deputy U.S. agriculture secretary will meet with farm organizations to discuss prospects for immigration reform.
State remains tops in farmers markets
It's National Farmers Market Week, and California has more reason to celebrate than any other state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says its National Farmers Market Directory lists 759 farmers markets in California, the most of any state in the nation. Nationwide, the number of markets in the directory has risen more than 60 percent in the past five years, as farmers markets gain popularity.
Australia expands grape imports
Table grapes from California have earned some new customers, in Western Australia. The provincial government in Western Australia has allowed California table grapes to be imported under the same rules as exist for the rest of the nation. Grape growers in Western Australia had resisted the imports, which will enter the nation during Australia's offseason. The U-S Department of Agriculture says it helped negotiate the expansion of the Australian market.
Lamb producers hope to see demand rise
Lamb marketers say consumer prices have started to come down, and they hope that will encourage people to buy more. Sheep producers have been struggling for more than a year, because of sluggish lamb sales due to a variety of factors. At the same time, California ranchers face increased competition from imported lamb, and dry weather has added more complications, by leaving fewer areas where sheep and lambs can graze.