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» August 22, 2005 «
As they feared, state officials see accelerating levels of West Nile virus among California horses. The state reported (Friday) that the disease has killed 93 horses so far this year. That's up more than 50 percent from the same time a year ago ... and total cases among horses have risen more than 70 percent. Animal health officials say the infection rate could continue to climb. They urge horse owners to have their animals vaccinated by veterinarians.
Farmers in two Central Valley counties have now agreed to form new pest-and-disease-control districts, to protect table grapes from a fatal plant disease. Tulare County officials announced that farmers there have joined grape growers in neighboring Kern County, in forming districts to fight Pierce's disease and an insect that spreads it: the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Table-grape growers in the two counties will pay $8 an acre to raise money for the effort.
Americans have been eating more cantaloupe and honeydew melons this summer. The U.S. Agriculture Department says demand for the melons has been running more than 10 percent higher than last year. California leads the nation in production of both cantaloupes and honeydews. Shipments of California-grown watermelon have been lower, mainly because cool spring weather delayed the start of the season.
It's called the Beefmobile, and it travels from town to town, providing consumers with information about beef and beef products. This week, the Beefmobile will travel to livestock markets around California, to show cattle producers how their promotional dollars are being spent. The Beefmobile is one part of a multimillion-dollar, nationwide campaign to promote beef consumption. It's highlighting microwaveable beef products during its California tour.Top