Food & Farm News
» May 16, 2012 «
Immigration and farm policy receive much of the attention as a group of Farm Bureau members and leaders from California visits Washington DC this week. The group will urge Congress to support immigration policies that allow farmers to hire skilled employees to harvest crops. The farmers say they also will seek a federal farm bill that includes programs to benefit the environment, communities and the agricultural economy.
Crops have been reduced in other states, so California blueberries will be a welcome sight for shoppers across the country. Poor weather elsewhere in the nation decreased the overall crop size, but California farmers expect to harvest more than 40 million pounds of blueberries this year. Some California berries suffered damage from freezes and hail earlier in the year, but the state's blueberry production has increased significantly the past five years.
Fresh grapes from the Coachella Valley are making their way to consumers as the harvest kicks off. Farmers in the Coachella Valley will harvest grapes into July, and other regions in the state will supply consumers with table grapes into early 2013. California produces nearly all of the US-grown fresh grapes. The California Table Grape Commission says nearly half of the crop will be sold around the world to consumers in more than 60 countries.
Created by Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War, the US Department of Agriculture celebrates 150 years of research and support programs with events around the country today (Wednesday), including one in Davis. The USDA invites people to participate in activities highlighting its work in areas including nutrition, community development, food production and conservation. Smokey the Bear will also be at the Davis event, representing the US Forest Service.