Food & Farm News
September 3, 2014
Farm groups seek action on drought bills
When Congress returns to Washington next week, California farm groups hope drought legislation will be a high priority. The House passed a California drought-relief bill in February and the Senate followed suit in May. Since then, congressional leaders have been working to reconcile differences between the two bills. The California Farm Bureau said it and other groups want Congress to finalize the legislation during its short September session.
Battery thefts affect farms, ranches
The latest crime wave to hit California farms and ranches involves farm-equipment batteries. Rural-crime deputies say farmers report increasing losses, as thieves take batteries out of unattended tractors and other vehicles. The batteries end up at auto parts stores, where they’re accepted for recycling at a few dollars each. Deputies urge farmers to have batteries marked with identification numbers and to adapt engine compartments to make batteries harder to remove.
Apple farms open to visitors
As summer turns to fall, California apple farms open to visitors, who can pick apples and enjoy cider, pies and other products. The Oak Glen apple-growing area in Southern California celebrates its centennial this year, while the Apple Hill region in Northern California turns 50. Farmers in both apple-growing areas say their harvest season has begun and will continue throughout the autumn.
Research may help protect walnut trees
Sometimes, small observations can lead to big results. That’s what researchers hope at the University of California, Davis. They’ve been measuring the flight of the tiny walnut twig beetle. The invasive beetle and a fungus combine to cause a disease that can kill walnut trees. By noticing differences in the beetle’s flight patterns, the researchers hope to learn more about their behavior, and about how to disrupt their mating patterns in order to help protect walnut trees.