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» August 23, 2005 «
An aggressive political program by California family farmers and ranchers has identified 11 bills as top priorities as the state Legislature enters its final portion of the 2005 session. Farm Bureau has notified legislators of its position on the bills and members are communicating with individual members. For example, the organization supports the bill that extends the successful Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Program. Legislators will be graded by the positions they take on the listed bills after the session is concluded.
Marketers will have one billion pounds of avocados for sale in the United States next year, according to the California Avocado Commission. Not all of the fruit will come from California. Mexico, Chile and other nations will market avocados here. Consumer demand is expanding, aided by various promotional programs funded by both foreign and California growers. Commission members believe the market will handle the added fruit. California growers do not now export avocados, but are looking at that possibility.
Even with the poor weather last spring, a few farmers were able to plant rice in mid-April. Those fields are now close to maturity and a few farmers may begin harvest as soon as next week. However, the majority won–t start until mid-September. Farmers have been battling weed problems all year because of the weather. Federal inspectors say about half of the rice fields are in fair condition, the other half are in good condition. None of the rice acreage is in excellent condition this year. The entire crop has past the stage when cool weather may cause problems.
Farmers with small operations sometimes lose markets through communication breakdowns. At least two specialty melon farmers in the San Joaquin Valley were unable to market their produce through a retail chain, as they were not advised they needed inspections. When the melon crop was ready inspectors were not able to survey the farms in a timely manner when the melons needed to be picked. The farmers were able to find other outlets for their produce, but consumers of the retail chain have not been able to buy the melons they had come to expect each summer.Top