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» April 15, 2005 «
Crop security, child nutrition, animal health and agricultural marketing are among the topics at an international conference underway in Sacramento. State and provincial officials from Mexico, Canada and the United States held opening ceremonies for the conference yesterday (Thursday). The group works to smooth agricultural trade and pursue consistent farming regulations in the three countries. The meeting concludes tomorrow (Saturday).
Bush administration officials worked to refute reports that they will no longer pursue cuts in federal farm programs. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said some reporters misinterpreted his remarks at a Senate subcommittee meeting this week. Johanns said yesterday that reducing the overall budget deficit would benefit farmers and ranchers. He said the administration "is not backing away at all" from proposed farm-program cuts.
Agricultural researchers have discovered biological controls for the pink hibiscus mealybug. Parasites raised in an Imperial County laboratory were tested in California before being sent to other regions where the pest has been found. The natural predators are said to be working well to control the pest. The pink hibiscus mealybug was discovered near the Mexican border about five years ago. It has not spread to agricultural areas.
This is harvest time for one of California's more specialized crops. A few growers produce lilacs, and report increasing demand for both flowers and for whole plants. Californians who moved from Eastern states miss the flowers they knew. One grower in the southern San Joaquin Valley has developed additional products such as lilac soap, candles and potpourri. The grower says he will also try to develop lilac wine.
On the Calendar:
The California Antique Farm Equipment Show begins tomorrow (Saturday) in Tulare. There's an Avocado Festival in Fallbrook on Sunday.