Food & Farm News
» August 3, 2011 «
Freestone peaches in California benefitted from favorable weather during bloom, and farmers say they expect their crop to be about the same size as last year. That makes them the exception. A government forecast predicts smaller peach crops elsewhere. States including South Carolina and Georgia saw crops damaged by hail and drought. California farmers produce 72 percent of the nation's peaches, and report that the quality of their crops appears high.
Caltrans must conduct more research into the environmental impact on farmland from a proposed highway project, as the result of a judge's ruling. The department wants to widen and elevate a stretch of Highway 16 in Yolo County. Farmers said the potential changes would have made it impossible to reach their fields with planting and harvesting equipment, and sued Caltrans to seek more thorough review of the impact on farms. The judge agreed and ordered Caltrans to conduct the study.
Billed as "an ideal jet fuel substitute," camelina oil will be the focus of a project sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture. Farmers in 16 California counties may apply to grow camelina through the USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Up to 25,000 acres of camelina oilseed could be grown in the state. The camelina will be processed into jet fuel at a facility in Bakersfield.
Rice-based packaging developed at Chico State University gives a second life to a common farming byproduct. Researchers developed a method of converting rice bran and hulls into highly biodegradable plastic. Next, they plan to use the plastic to make clear drinking cups and other beverage containers. The scientists say the plastic made from rice byproducts degrades more quickly than common, clear plastic.Top