Food & Farm News
» July 11, 2012 «
A coalition of farm groups, led by the California Farm Bureau Federation, is urging the U.S. House of Representatives to include an important air quality program in new federal farm legislation. Known as the Air Quality Initiative, the program helps farmers upgrade equipment, decrease emissions and address air quality regulations. The Senate version of the farm bill included the program, and farmers say the House should include it as it works on the bill this week.
Invasive pests threaten California farms and gardens, and the Department of Food and Agriculture is working to counteract a newly discovered insect. Two Oriental fruit flies were found in the Laguna Beach area of Orange County. In response, CDFA has announced a quarantine and treatment program. Oriental fruit flies can harm more than 230 fruit, vegetable and plant commodities by laying eggs inside the fruit.
After a late start, sunflower fields are blooming in Northern California, with thousands of bees working to pollinate the plants. Growers say warm weather can spur sunflower growth, but persistent hot weather can slow the bees' ability to pollinate. Hybrid sunflower seeds grown in California are harvested August through October, for use as food, oil or seeds for sunflower growers in countries including China, Russia and Ukraine.
The California State Fair kicks off this week, and among all the corndogs, carnival rides and livestock shows is a celebration of the state's farm and ranch heritage. Nineteen farms and ranches have been newly inducted into the California Agricultural Heritage Club, which recognizes operations in business for 100, 125 or 150 years. Farmers and ranchers whose ancestors settled on the land were honored at an event at Cal Expo.