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» April 1, 2005 «
Reports of improved air quality in the San Joaquin Valley come as welcome news to farmers, who have worked to comply with tighter standards. The valley's Air Pollution Control District reported this week that the region is closing in on compliance with a health standard for air-borne dust and smoke. Farmers and ranchers have reduced dust from unpaved roads, used improved techniques to decrease dust at planting and harvest, and replaced diesel irrigation pumps with cleaner-running models.
In a show of support for their agricultural neighbors, urban Southern Californians say they favor discounted water prices for the region's farms. A survey conducted for the California Avocado Commission and the Southern California Agricultural Water Team shows 72 percent of participants support the farm-water discount. Farmers who receive the discount also agree to take water cuts during droughts, so water can be redirected to urban uses.
Cotton growers in the southern San Joaquin Valley are champing at the bit, as they wait for their fields to dry out. They need to complete land preparation necessary for them to plant their cotton. Some have started, but other fields remain too wet. One Kings County grower compared the situation to the Oklahoma land rush of 1889, as farmers lined up their equipment for a fast start once the ground dries out enough
Now that a peak demand period has passed, asparagus growers take steps to prepare for the rest of their season. Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta loosen the topsoil around their asparagus plants. That temporarily reduces production, which is why farmers perform the task in the lull following Easter. The work allows asparagus plants to produce more in the weeks ahead, and helps the soil absorb rainwater from any future storms.Top