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» August 29, 2005 «
A California farm leader told a Congressional hearing that nut, vegetable and fruit farmers expect federal farm policy to assure a fair marketplace for all U.S. agriculture. California Farm Bureau Second Vice President Paul Wenger told members of the House Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture that the government must enhance efforts to open and develop new markets. He called for expansion of the Market Access Program, which provides matching funds to promote American crops to foreign consumers.
Mechanical breakdowns in the Holly Sugar plant in the Imperial Valley have thrown sugar beet farmers harvest schedules off. Because beets are so bulky, there isn't room to store many. Thus beets remain in the ground until the processing plant can accept them. Farmers who planned to put in a second crop for winter harvest are thrown off schedule for that work as a result. The sugar plant is said to be at least two weeks behind schedule.
Another 68 California horses were reported infected with West Nile Virus last week. It is the third week of more than 60 cases being reported and brings the yearly total to 277, of which 120 have died. Two counties reported their first cases of the year, Mariposa one, and Lake reported 5 cases. State officials continue to urge horse owners to have their animals vaccinated.
Researchers have found grafting watermelon tops onto gourd or squash rootstock improves fruit quality. That rootstock is also resistant to widespread plant diseases. Watermelon produced this way remains crisper longer and could help prolong shelf life of packaged fresh cut watermelon. That packaging is a rapidly expanding market as those consumers with smaller families can enjoy fresh watermelon without wasting any.Top