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» December 1, 2005 «
Even though diesel fuel prices have declined a little, thieves continue to steal fuel from California farms and ranches. The Agricultural Crime Technology Information and Operations Network in Tulare says it continues alerting farmers to the threat, and works with deputies to establish "sting" operations to catch thieves. Observers say fuel thefts may decline some during the next couple of months, as the winter slowdown in farm activity exposes less fuel to thieves.
With a new round of world trade talks coming later this month, farm groups hope Congress will complete repeal of a law that has complicated the negotiations. Known as the Byrd Amendment, the law allows American companies to collect trade penalties ... and has been ruled a violation of global trade rules. The House of Representatives has approved repeal of the amendment. The American Farm Bureau wants the Senate to do likewise, saying the law hampers agricultural trade.
A bill that would have slowed direct wine trade between states has been vetoed in Massachusetts. The bill would have limited the ability of California wineries to ship directly to consumers, by requiring most wineries to sell through Massachusetts wholesalers. In vetoing the bill, Governor Mitt Romney said it would create an artificial barrier to protect wholesalers at the expense of the free market.
By identifying "weak links" in an insect's life cycle, University of California farm advisors say they've developed new methods to fight the pest. Known as the "gilli mealybug," the pest has attacked pistachios and other crops in the Central Valley. UC farm advisors say they understand more about how the mealybug lives, and about which beneficial insects might slow it. The experts say the new methods could lead to techniques that rely primarily on natural controls.Top