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» March 7, 2005 «
Farm groups praised President Bush's choice as new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The president appointed Stephen Johnson to the post (Friday). The American Farm Bureau said Johnson has "a good grasp of farming issues" from his long career as an EPA scientist. Among other posts, he helped lead the office that regulates pesticides. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman described Johnson as a "well-trained and highly respected scientist."
Stressing the common interests of urban and rural Californians, state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez encouraged farmers to continue their efforts to educate urban legislators. During a speech to a California Farm Bureau meeting in Sacramento, Nuñez cited several shared concerns for urban and rural residents. He said those common interests include reliable supplies of energy and water, and protection of California farmland.
Grape growers say a review of vineyard research confirms that delaying harvest reduces the tonnage of grapes produced. Wineries have been asking farmers to let grapes hang on vines longer, to increase the fruit's sugar content. But because farmers are paid by the ton, they say the practice costs them money. The California Association of Winegrape Growers says its review shows tonnage losses vary ... and also points out a number of "knowledge gaps" about the practice.
Rain in the Southern California desert complicates matters for date farmers, as pollination season begins. Date palms are hand-pollinated, by skilled workers known as "palmeros." They climb scaffolds into the trees, collect the pollen and place it in the female blossoms, tying the stems closed so the pollen doesn't blow away. Farmers say unusual winter rains have damaged some date blooms. The pollination season continues until early May.
On the Calendar:
The Pacific Egg and Poultry Association opens its 81st annual convention today (Monday) in Napa.