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» April 28, 2010 «
As Congress discusses whether to take up immigration reform this year, farm groups renew their push for reform of agricultural guest worker programs. Backers say a bill known as AgJOBS would assure that people from other countries could enter the U.S. legally to work on farms. A California Farm Bureau spokesman says the group considers immigration reform a top priority, but Congress may not tackle the topic in an election year.
Water remains in tight supply in California even though the Sierra snowpack stands at 130 percent of average. The Department of Water Resources reports the state has not recovered from three consecutive dry years. Storage in some major reservoirs continues to lag below average. Because of those dry years, hydrologists say the runoff from the snowpack this year will be below average as more moisture is absorbed by the dry ground. DWR asks Californians to continue conserving water.
Cherry farmers have started the California harvest. Volume is light thus far from the early cherry growing region in Kern County. Often the early fruit goes into the export market where demand is expected to be strong this year. Consumers should find California-grown cherries in retail stores soon. Growers are concerned that predicted rain could damage the crop. However, thus far no damage has been reported from rain that fell last week.
Experiments on ornamental plants may offer clues about how to combat a fatal disease of citrus trees. U.S. Agriculture Department researchers say their work with periwinkle plants has uncovered potential treatments for the disease known as HLB or citrus greening. Field trials may be conducted on the treatments. The disease has hit Florida citrus groves. It has not been found in California, though an insect that can carry it has been trapped here.Top