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» January 27, 2010 «
Livestock ranchers should benefit from the series of storms that marched through California. The rain will help to revive rangeland grasses that were parched during the previous three dry years. Still, some ranchers must provide supplemental food for their cattle. Rains have also helped grain farmers who grow their crops without irrigation. A government report says dryland farmers of wheat, oats and other grains have mainly seen improvements from the rains.
To prevent damaging insects, weeds and diseases from entering California, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest an additional $13 million in grant money. Deputy U.S. Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the grants during a visit to the state. She also said USDA will focus on additional help for financially stressed dairy farmers and on updating forest policies.
Scientists are asking for help from the public to stop the spread of an invasive insect called the goldspotted oak borer. It has already killed more than 20-thousand oak trees in San Diego County. Researchers believe the insect is spread in firewood. Unsuspecting owners remove dead oak trees and cut them for firewood, not realizing the insects are deep in the wood. University of California researchers say they hope to find natural enemies of the goldspotted oak borer to control its spread.
Despite the recession, Americans ate more ice cream last year than the year before, according to the market research firm Packaged Facts. Sales of ice cream and other frozen desserts increased 2 percent to $25 billion. Experts say that's because ice cream is a comfort food and right now that is what Americans need. Marketers also helped keep volume up with a wide variety of discounts. Several ice cream manufacturers in California report good sales years.Top