Food & Farm News
June 3, 2015
Study projects drought losses to farms
The impact of drought and water shortages on California farms and ranches will worsen this year, according to a preliminary report released Tuesday. University of California specialists told the State Board of Food and Agriculture they expect cropland idling, revenue losses and job impacts to be greater than last year. The report projects the total economic impact to agriculture at $2.7 billion.
Farmers seek passage of trade bill
Saying that new trade agreements would provide access to potential customers in many parts of the world, the American Farm Bureau Federation has asked the House of Representatives to pass a pending trade bill. The bill, similar to one passed by the Senate, would grant “trade promotion authority” to the president. Farm groups and other supporters say that would streamline talks on international agreements that could reduce barriers to agricultural trade.
Genetics improves dairy productivity
The carbon footprint of a glass of milk is about one-third of what it was in the 1950s, according to a University of California geneticist, who attributes the improvement to enhanced knowledge of cattle breeding. Researchers are refining that knowledge now, by studying the cow genome. For one thing, they’re learning how to improve cows’ fertility. They’re also studying how to breed dairy cattle that would be less susceptible to certain diseases.
Prune crop to be slightly smaller
The warm and early spring may increase the proportion of smaller fruit on California prune trees, contributing to a slight decrease in production this year. A crop forecast released Tuesday estimates the state’s total crop of prunes, or dried plums, will decrease 4 percent, to 100,000 tons. Harvest will begin around mid-August. California is the only U.S. supplier of prunes, which grow mainly in the Sacramento Valley.