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» May 9, 2005 «
As Congress begins work to divide the money in the federal budget, California farmers and ranchers will visit Washington to outline their priorities. Nineteen California Farm Bureau members will meet this week with congressional representatives and Bush administration officials. A Farm Bureau spokesman says budget priorities include investments in pest prevention, research and other tools to assure that California farmers and ranchers remain competitive.
Coyotes, dogs and other predators killed 11,000 sheep and lambs in California last year. A report released (Friday) by the U.S. Agriculture Department estimates the loss to ranchers at nearly $900,000. Coyotes caused almost three quarters of the losses reported in California. Ranchers described a number of tactics they employ to keep predators away from their flocks, including use of llamas and donkeys as guard animals.
Consistent conservation work has led to national recognition for a fifth-generation California rancher. Steve Sinton, who raises cattle and winegrapes in San Luis Obispo County, will be presented next week with the American Farmland Trust Steward of the Land Award. Sinton pursues a wide variety of environmentally friendly practices on his land, including the establishment of habitat for California condors.
Do you think you can judge the sweetness of a peach, simply by looking at it? Government scientists say they've developed a machine that does just that. The "machine vision" tool gauges the sugar content of fruit, by looking at it using laser light. Researchers say the tool can predict the sweetness of the fruit. They've tested the device on apples and peaches, and say it might eventually help assure fruit quality before shipment.Top