Food & Farm News
» April 18, 2012 «
It's been a week since severe hailstorms hit parts of the Central Valley, and farmers say they're continuing to assess losses from the storms. Fruit and nut trees that were beginning to leaf out were stripped bare by hailstones. Hail also hit crops such as tomatoes and lettuce. Damage was spotty, but for some farmers the losses could be severe. Observers say crop damage from last week's storms could reach tens of millions of dollars.
Saying they support efforts to enhance water quality in the Central Coast region, a coalition of farm groups has petitioned the state water board. The farm groups asked the state board to revise a water program adopted last month by a regional board, saying it will have “dramatic and severe impacts.” The agricultural organizations collaborated on an alternative plan they say would achieve Central Coast water-quality goals more efficiently.
More roadside stands are opening for the season across California, with strawberries serving as a highlight at many. The US Agriculture Department reports that plentiful early-spring supplies of strawberries provide consumers with more options and favorable prices. The supply in California results from farmers planting more acreage in the fall, and as the spring continues, the state will produce even more, reaching peak strawberry production in the next two months.
A new, special-interest license plate honoring California food, flower and fiber production has been given the green light. The state Department of Food and Agriculture says backers of the new “ag plates” have submitted enough pledges to proceed with creating the plates. Sales of the “ag plates” will help fund agricultural education and leadership programs. The process to get the license plate approved has taken almost a decade.