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» May 11, 2011 «
At the same time as President Obama called for comprehensive immigration reform, farm organizations traveled to Washington to seek action on a guestworker program for agriculture. Farmers say such a program would assure that they can hire harvest employees from foreign nations who have entered the country legally. Agricultural groups say an improved guestworker program would benefit both farmers and farm employees.
At least 23-hundred acres of rice will go unplanted in Placer County this year, as one result of a canal break that cut off water to farmers in the region. A landslide damaged a canal, and crews estimate repairs may not be finished until the end of June. Rice is the county's top crop, but other commodities will be affected, too. Cattle ranches and orchards in Placer County face serious water shortages, as do nurseries and vegetable farms.
Rain hit California apricot orchards at the peak of their bloom this spring, but observers say they expect a normal-sized crop anyway. The group Apricot Producers of California said cool weather during crop development has delayed the apricots, but that it expects harvest for the fresh market to start later this week. Harvest will begin in the southern San Joaquin Valley. California farms produce virtually all of the apricots grown in the U.S.
Blueberry harvest has begun, and California-grown berries should reach retail outlets soon. The California Blueberry Commission says it expects the total harvest to be about the same size as last year's. New acreage is coming into production, but some farmers in the delta region lost much of their crop to hail and other weather problems. The commission says blueberry quality will be good.Top