Food & Farm News
» October 20, 2010 «
As tomato farmers finish their 2010 harvest, they say the crop appears to have recovered from a rough start. The tomato crop ran behind schedule all season, after a cool, rainy spring and a mild summer. Farmers and tomato canneries say that despite the delays and concerns about harvest-time rain, the crop may nearly meet pre-season estimates. California dominates production of the processing tomatoes made into ketchup, salsa and other products.
More students have been enrolling in agricultural education courses offered by California high schools. But many school districts are struggling to accommodate the growth because of shrinking budgets. The California Agriculture Teachers Association says schools are losing teachers as they gain students. Due to lack of funding, many teachers have less time to supervise the student projects that form a key component of agricultural programs.
A University of California bee expert says next spring could be a challenge for the state's almond farmers. Those farmers need bees to pollinate almond blossoms, and the availability of bees has been hurt by the unexplained malady known as "colony collapse disorder." UC bee specialist Eric Mussen says the continued planting of new almond orchards has expanded demand for pollination, meaning that more than a million bee colonies will be needed for the almonds.
Discovery of a pest that kills palm trees has crews checking the Laguna Beach area. The red palm weevil has never before been found in the United States. The California Department of Food and Agriculture confirmed the discovery, and described the weevil as "the world's worst pest of palm trees." The department wants to learn if a full-scale infestation exists. The pest would threaten decorative palm trees, nurseries that grow the trees, and date palms that produce fruit.Top