Food & Farm News
» March 21, 2012 «
Pastures and rangeland throughout California badly needed rain, and received a respite earlier this week. A weather report from the US Agriculture Department explained that the latest rain helped boost grass growth. The grass had been off to a slow start, and it will still be weeks before new growth and germination will be apparent in some areas. Ranchers do not expect the rainfall total to be enough to sustain cattle through the summer and have begun to reduce their herds.
While many farmers welcomed the weekend rain, hail is a different story. It can damage crops ready for harvest as well as trees in bloom, including almonds and tree fruit. County agricultural commissioners say they're gathering reports from growers after scattered hail last weekend, but preliminary reports indicate most crops avoided damage. Some farmers protect their crops by using shock wave cannons to disrupt the formation of hail in the atmosphere.
The popularity of "cottage foods," from homemade pickles to peanut butter cookies, is growing in California. However, there is a balancing act between allowing people to sell homemade products directly to consumers and ensuring food safety and quality. An organization representing local environmental health directors is evaluating how best to oversee cottage food makers.
The grounds of the state Capitol will take on a farm flair today (Wednesday), as the state celebrates Ag Day. Hundreds of farmers, ranchers, legislators and families will gather on the Capitol's west lawn, for an event that will include samples and demonstrations featuring the food, fiber and flowers grown and raised in the state. The celebration will also highlight conservation and stewardship work by the state's farmers and ranchers.Top