Food & Farm News
Forum airs effects of drought
Speaking at a forum held in Fresno Tuesday by the State Board of Food and Agriculture, the manager of a food bank said he expects it may take years or even generations for some rural communities to recover from the drought. Planting cuts due to water shortages have cost thousands of agricultural jobs. Another speaker, representing a citrus growers’ group, predicted that thousands more acres of citrus groves will be bulldozed this year due to water shortages.
Report gauges drought impact on vegetables
Droughts in California generally lead to higher prices for fresh produce, because of the state’s dominant role in U.S. fruit and vegetable production. But a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says those effects don’t occur immediately. For example, consumer prices for fresh vegetable have remained relatively stable. Fresh-vegetable imports rose during the drought last year, growing to 28 percent of total domestic use.
Insect population rise
One insect specialist says she’s never seen anything like it: Mild winter weather has led to a pest population explosion in California fields and orchards. The relatively warm winter allowed pests to reproduce instead of hibernating, meaning extra problems for farmers. One pest of concern, the Asian citrus psyllid, has been found in San Benito County, requiring a quarantine there. The psyllid can carry a disease that kills citrus trees.
Resolution supports domestic flowers
Look for California-grown flowers for Mothers Day: That’s the message from California members of Congress who sponsored a resolution promoting domestic flowers. The resolution says people in every state have access to domestically grown flowers, but only 20 percent of the flowers sold in the U.S. are domestically grown. About three-quarters of the flowers grown in the U.S. come from California.