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» January 8, 2009 «
Timber farmers are struggling to cope with the economic downturn. Growers say they are unable to sell their logs because lumber mills have inventory backed up. The decline in housing construction has dried up demand for wood. Farmers say they are not certain they will be able to sell any logs this year. Meantime, they have expenses to maintain their forests and taxes to pay. Unemployment in timber-growing regions is high because there is no work for loggers. Growers hope for improvement in demand in 2010.
Americans will consume more than 46 million pounds of avocados on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, according to the California Avocado Commission. If all those avocados were made into guacamole and placed on the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay where the game will be played, it would cover the field from end zone to end zone to a depth of nearly 18 feet. Some of the avocados will be from California but because of a light crop, fruit from offshore will also be in the mix for consumers.
As foreign competitors with cheaper production costs vie for cut flower markets, California growers are surviving by providing flowers to niche markets. An unusual flower that has attracted some attention is the flowering kale plant. It has cabbage-like contours with ruffled, multicolored leaves and a pink coloring. It's not the same as the kale variety that is served steamed or in soup, but it is attracting consumer interest in compact arrangements.
Water managers in arid regions such as California have newly developed tools to help control water availability. The computer programs developed by research scientists allow canal gates to move increasing or decreasing water flow. The computer programs also show how design options affect a field's irrigation efficiency. Each module operates separately, but information can be transferred between them. The model is available and has users throughout the United States and 14 other countries.Top