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» June 9, 2005 «
A variety of factors have eroded the agricultural trade surplus that the United States has enjoyed for decades. In dollar terms, the U.S. imported more food than it exported at times last summer ... the first time that had happened in almost 20 years. American Farm Bureau analysts link the trend to factors that include changing consumer demands and a weaker dollar. American farm exports remain strong, but the dollar value of imports has risen faster.
A rainy June day appeared to cause more inconvenience than crop damage on Northern California farms. Observers say the region's cherry harvest is virtually complete, and most fruit not damaged by earlier storms has been picked. Apricot farmers say their fruit can withstand rain as long as it doesn't last too long. The rain was scattered, allowing some farmers to pick fruit yesterday (Wednesday) in dry but cloudy conditions.
It's been a slow start for sweet-corn harvest in Northern California, as cool spring weather slows development of the crop. North-state farmers who had sweet corn available in early June last year say this year's crop may not be ready until the start of July. Sweet corn continues to be available from Southern California growers. Farmers in the Coachella and Imperial valleys have the market for California corn to themselves for now.
Experiments in Central Valley almond orchards indicate that farmers can accelerate crop development and improve tree health by adjusting irrigation methods. University of California farm advisors say the changes also save water. The farm advisors tested a technique known as "regulated deficit irrigation" in all the state's main almond-growing areas. After four years of research, they say the technique can achieve those benefits while maintaining crop yields.
On the Calendar:
The San Fernando Valley Fair begins today (Thursday) in Burbank.