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» September 28, 2005 «
A new, more stable growth period appears ahead for the state's wine business, according to an annual survey of vintners, farmers and marketers. The UC Davis survey will be discussed today (Wednesday) at a conference in the Napa Valley. It forecasts slower, steadier growth in wine sales ... and in the supply of winegrapes. The report's author says the wine business has emerged from a slump that hit at the start of the decade.
Scattered rain showers that hit the Central Valley this week appear to have caused only minor crop damage. Some almond growers are bringing wet almonds to dryers. Most raisin-producing regions escaped heavy rain, so damage is light. Cotton farmers have not yet started harvest and say their crops came through fine. Rice farmers likened the rain to a heavy dew that only delayed the start of daily operations by a few hours.
Promising an aggressive, comprehensive program, a California-based commodity commission says it will resume consumer promotions next year. The Mushroom Council, formed under federal law, says a U.S. Supreme Court ruling clears the way for it to resume its promotional work. The court upheld the constitutionality of a beef promotion program this spring. The Mushroom Council says it plans promotions to consumers, retailers and foodservice buyers.
Farm organizations join food and school groups in a coalition to encourage students to "stay fit and eat right." The coalition launched its program this week, including radio announcements from teen pop idol Hilary Duff and a Web site that includes nutrition tips and descriptions of life on California farms. The state's agriculture secretary says the program should create new demand for California crops among teenage eaters.
On the Calendar:
On the calendar: A discussion of the next federal Farm Bill highlights today's (Wednesday's) meeting of the State Board of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento.