Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityHoliday outlook for California's nursery sector
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» November 5, 2008 «
Demand for California milk appears to be holding so far. However, dairy farmers are concerned about how the economic downturn may affect demand. Export demand remains good, but as the dollar strengthens, California-produced dairy products will be less competitive. The downturn in foreign nations could also have an impact. Farmers say they need a reduction in production costs. Fuel prices are lower, but feed prices are not declining as fast.
California plant and flower growers say that even with tough economic times, they think consumers will still buy a bouquet for the Thanksgiving table, a Christmas tree for the home or a poinsettia for the office. Mark Collins, head of Evergreen Nursery, San Diego County's largest plant nursery, says he's counting on offering consumers something to feel good about--at a modest price--so they'll catch the holiday spirit. Plant and floral production is planned years in advance so it's difficult to adjust for a sudden economic downturn or a shift in consumer purchasing.
Almonds have topped the list of nutritious foods for years, and now researchers say the nut does even more than lower cholesterol, protect against diabetes and provide an array of nutrients. In a study funded by the Almond Board of California, scientists at the Institute of Food Research in the United Kingdom found almonds promote friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract that play a big role in promoting health. California farmers produce more than 99 percent of the nation's almonds.
Wool is less susceptible to burning than synthetic fibers, but now it is even more so. Research scientists have patented a heat-resistant material that can be incorporated into wool to match the flame resistance of commercial firefighters' uniforms. The material was developed at the request of the U.S. military, one of the largest markets for domestic wool. California ranks third in the nation in wool production.Top