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» September 1, 2005 «
Crops have suffered from the impact of Hurricane Katrina ... but officials in Louisiana and Mississippi say it remains too early to gauge the extent of damage. Sugar cane growing near the Louisiana coast was flattened by the storm's winds and at least 10 percent of the Mississippi cotton crop may be lost. Farm Bureaus in the two states also report losses among dairy and other livestock farms, plus corn and citrus crops.
Agricultural damage related to Hurricane Katrina may have relatively little impact on California farmers. Common crops include cotton, rice and sweet potatoes. Officials in Louisiana and Mississippi say that, fortunately, the storm appears to have missed the main growing areas for all three of those crops. In addition, California farmers grow different varieties of rice from those raised in Southern states, and sell to different markets.
Bad weather in Mexico has led to additional sales for California onion growers. Federal figures show Mexico has imported 50 percent more onions than it did last year. There's been a shortage of onions in Mexico because of weather problems for onion farmers there. Many of the California exports are going through the border in Imperial County. Farmers say the additional demand has boosted onion prices.
American farmers sold a record $241 billion worth of crops and commodities last year, according to a government report issued yesterday (Wednesday). The U.S. Agriculture Department says both livestock and crop sectors generated record dollar sales. But total production expenses also rose, and the government forecasts that net farm income will decline this year.
On the Calendar:
Three county fairs open today (Thursday): the Lake County Fair in Lakeport, the Inter Mountain Fair of Shasta County in McArthur and the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair in Bishop.