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» April 28, 2005 «
The nation's top two farming counties each report increased on-farm revenues. Fresno and Tulare counties say farmers and ranchers sold crops totaling almost $9 billion in gross income last year. Higher on-farm prices for grapes, milk, almonds and citrus fruit contributed to the increases. But farmers point out that production costs have risen sharply, for services and supplies such as fuel, fertilizer, equipment and wages.
A freak windstorm caused considerable farm damage in the Bard Valley near the California-Arizona border. Farmers continue to assess losses from the storm, which hit during the past weekend. Imperial County officials say high winds tore through melon fields, snapped cotton plants and damaged some date palm trees. Individual farmers suffered significant losses, but authorities say the storm affected a relatively small area.
Fewer potatoes will be harvested in California this spring. Responding in part to lower prices, California farmers reduced their potato acreage by about 20 percent. Shippers say the spring potato harvest began this week. The reduction in new acreage means potatoes will be sold from storage in order to meet demand. Government reports show the number of potatoes in storage is about the same as last year at this time.
They say they appreciate the flexibility afforded by the new government "food pyramid," and University of California nutrition experts pledged yesterday (Wednesday) to spread the guidelines to low-income Californians. The new pyramid provides dietary and exercise recommendations for various segments of the population. UC says its nutritionists will encourage Californians to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and calcium-rich foods.Top