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» March 15, 2005 «
As gasoline prices rise, so does interest in California ethanol production. Two California companies are working on new plants to make the crop-based fuel. One company is building a plant in Tulare County that could begin ethanol production this summer. The other plant, near Madera, will break ground next month and begin production about a year later. The ethanol plants will use corn grown in California and elsewhere, and provide a high-protein feed for dairy cattle as a by-product.
A third discovery of glassy-winged sharpshooter eggs on incoming nursery plants has Napa County authorities looking for answers. Grape growers worry about the sharpshooter because the insect carries a plant disease that kills grapevines. Napa County farmers assessed themselves to pay for special nursery-plant inspections. The insect eggs were discovered on plants shipped from infested areas of Southern California, via a nursery in Lodi.
Most Californians now look for California-grown products when they buy food, according to a new survey. It shows that 61 percent of those surveyed have looked for California-grown items. The survey, commissioned by the "California Grown" program, was released prior to Agriculture Day festivities today (Tuesday). It also showed that 70 percent of Californians have visited a winery and virtually all have enjoyed barbecued foods.
Shoppers will likely see another big jump in the number of California blueberries available this year. Marketers say production rose by more than 2 million pounds last year, to a total of 5 million pounds. They expect a similar increase this year, with harvest expected to start around the end of April. More farmers have planted more blueberry bushes in more parts of the state, and farmers are forming a California Blueberry Association to help gather needed information about the crop.
On the Calendar:
A "cook-off" using California-grown foods highlights Agriculture Day festivities at the state Capitol in Sacramento today (Tuesday). In Hollister, third-grade students gather at a park for the annual Farm Day, sponsored by the San Benito County Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom program.