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» July 12, 2005 «
The state budget signed by Governor Schwarzenegger yesterday (Monday) includes relief for farmers in Northeastern California, who saw fees double last year for a state "watermaster" program. Watermasters monitor water diversions, to make certain farmers receive the proper amount of irrigation water set by court rulings. State officials had proposed another sharp hike in the fees, but farm groups successfully fought the plan, keeping the fees at current levels.
Putting a barrier around vineyards or plant nurseries may prove a sound tactic, in protecting them from the glassy-winged sharpshooter. The insect carries a plant disease that kills grapevines and other plants. Researchers have developed a 16-foot-tall screen barrier that blocks the sharpshooter. A University of California specialist says the barrier is expensive to build, but could be worth it to grape growers or nursery owners who want to protect their plants.
As weather warms in California growing regions, crops make up part of the time they lost during a relatively cool spring. Federal inspectors say cantaloupes are among the crops running behind a typical schedule, but add that crop quality appears to be excellent. Sweet corn has also been affected by the cool spring, and farmers in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys may have lower yields as a result.
The last California-grown asparagus of the season comes from Santa Barbara County, where production has just begun at one farm. With all the state's main areas finished with harvest, observers say the state's asparagus production will be down by about a quarter, compared to last year. California farmers have reduced their asparagus acreage considerably the past five years, responding to generally lower market prices.Top