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» January 14, 2009 «
Americans will become the world's number one wine consumers by 2012, according to a report commissioned by a French wine group. Italy took that distinction from the French in 2007, but Americans are gaining fast. California is the nation's top wine-producing state. Growers will benefit from increased wine consumption in the emerging economies such as China and Russia. Global production is expected to grow about 4 percent between now and 2012 while consumption increases by 6 percent.
Many people are enjoying the warm, dry weather, but cattle ranchers and dryland farmers need rain. With temperatures in the 80's throughout California and no significant rain since Christmastime, range grasses are beginning to dry up and lose nutrient value. Ranchers can feed hay, which is expensive, sell their breeding cows or move the cattle out of state. Trouble is, many other nearby states are also in drought conditions. Ranchers are hoping for rain soon.
New varieties of pistachio trees are now available as a result of work by University of California research scientists. Because most of the pistachio trees now in production are the same variety, they produce mature nuts about the same time. This results in the packinghouses being swamped with pistachios over a short time period each fall. The new varieties mature earlier and later, which would stretch out the production time, benefiting farmers and packers.
A study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute shows that people who increase their potassium intake and cut sodium can reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease. The findings are based on a long-term analysis. Foods high in potassium include many fruits and vegetables grown in California. Diets that feature foods such as oranges, tomatoes, grapefruit, prunes and potatoes can actually help lower blood pressure.Top