Food & Farm News
December 17, 2014
Christmas tree season peaks
Christmas tree growers have been keeping their eyes on the skies this month. Choose-and-cut tree growers count on fair weather, especially on weekends, to encourage people to venture out to their farms. Growers say an improving economy and lower gas prices have helped their business. Most Christmas tree growers say they have escaped severe losses from the drought, although some report that drought has slowed tree growth and others say dry weather killed seedlings.
Rains benefit rangelands
December rains have been encouraging for California cattle ranchers. One rancher said his pastures have “really taken a beating” during the drought. But he said grasses have been greening as a result of the rain and the grass season is off to “a nice start.” Ranchers have been reducing their herds due to drought, contributing to high beef prices. A government report issued Tuesday predicted retail beef prices will continue to rise next year.
Salvage effort aids biomass energy
Nearly 40-thousand tons of forest residue from the Rim Fire area in Tuolumne County has been removed for use to generate biomass energy, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Meanwhile, the USDA said Tuesday it has made funds available to help California landowners conserve natural resources damaged or threatened as a result of wildfires during the past 18 months.
‘CowParade’ comes to California
The cows may be coming to a city near you. The California Milk Processor Board announced Tuesday that it will sponsor the “CowParade” public-art event in locations around the state next year. The CowParade features larger-than-life cow statues, decorated in a multitude of colorful ways. The milk board says the event will celebrate California dairy farms and benefit educational nonprofit organizations.