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» June 27, 2005 «
Farm leaders say confirmation of a second U.S. case of the cattle disease BSE demonstrates the efficiency of the food-safety system. California Farm Bureau President Bill Pauli noted that the animal never entered the food supply, because of extra steps now taken by federal inspectors. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said the result demonstrates that the nation's system and safeguards are working properly.
Nursery operators hope people will head back into their gardens as weather warms this summer. But they say a cool and rainy spring reduced plant sales during a key period. Some nurseries make nearly half of their yearly sales during March, April and May ... and weather later in the spring never stayed warm consistently enough to make up for earlier lost sales. Nursery growers say long-term trends indicate that demand for plants will stay strong when weather cooperates.
Authorities have banned imports of South African clementine tangerines into California. Inspectors at state border stations found larvae of a pest called "false codling moth" in three separate shipments entering the state. The moth causes serious problems for South African farmers, and California citrus and avocado growers want to assure it stays out of the state. Clementines from South Africa are supposed to be cold-treated to prevent pests from hitchhiking.
The weather has helped so far, as pomegranate trees bloom in the southern San Joaquin Valley. The trees typically bloom around this time of year, but, like so many other California crops, some pomegranates have started late because of the relatively cool spring. Harvest usually begins in August for early varieties. Farmers say it could be an above-average crop if the weather obliges. The state's pomegranate crop is centered in Fresno and Tulare counties.Top