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» April 25, 2005 «
Cooperative programs involving farmers and government agencies have restored more than 90,000 acres of California wetlands, according to figures released by the U.S. Agriculture Department (Friday). The state's farmers have enrolled those acres in the department's Wetlands Reserve Program. During an Earth Day ceremony, officials gathered at a Yolo County farm, where the owners have restored wetlands habitat to benefit waterfowl.
Efforts to revive populations of Aleutian geese have succeeded so well that the birds now overwhelm grazing lands in Northwestern California. An estimated 60,000 geese have migrated through Humboldt County this year, often eating pastures meant to sustain the region's cattle. One observer says the geese mow the pastures "down to the dirt." At a meeting in Eureka today (Monday), a wildlife management specialist will discuss possible approaches to the problem.
As the weather warms and the barbecue beckons, strong beef demand will maintain pressure on retail prices. A government report predicts continued increases in beef prices through the spring. Beef supplies remain tight. The report says poor winter weather in some regions slowed weight gain in cattle. And beef markets have been complicated by uncertainty about imports of Canadian beef and cattle, related to a previous incident of the cattle disease BSE.
It's harvest time in a specialized segment of the almond business. A few growers sell immature nuts, known as green almonds, that restaurants and specialty stores demand as ingredients for ethnic dishes. The Almond Board of California says the growers who harvest the immature nuts have a strong market, but how large it becomes remains to be seen. Harvest of mature almonds will begin in late summer.Top