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» March 21, 2005 «
Farmers along the California-Oregon border have been warned to expect reduced water supplies, as a result of drought in the Klamath Basin. But officials say they expect to avoid the type of water shutoff that sparked a national debate four years ago. Water managers must balance the needs of protected fish with those of the region's human population. One Klamath Basin rancher says all parties will have to "share the pain," during one of the driest years in recent record.
As the lettuce harvest moves into the San Joaquin Valley this week, shoppers may notice price changes caused by a variety of factors. Market watchers say wholesale lettuce prices have risen sharply the past couple of weeks. Observers note increased demand prior to Easter, and supply gaps related to winter rains. Lettuce harvest is winding down in the California-Arizona desert and beginning in the Huron region of western Fresno County.
Strong demand and tight supplies continue to influence retail beef prices. A government report says supermarket prices for Choice-grade beef averaged $4.09 a pound, and could stay at that level for awhile. Beef-production estimates have dropped because of poor cattle-feeding conditions in much of the country this winter. Uncertainty about the potential reopening of cattle imports from Canada also affects markets.
Two California universities will participate in a newly announced national effort to prevent food-related illnesses. The University of California campuses at Davis and Berkeley are among 18 schools comprising the Food Safety Research and Response Network. In announcing the network's formation (Friday), the U.S. Agriculture Department said participating researchers will also serve as a "response team" to investigate episodes of food-related illness.Top