Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityFarmer's comments about China opening its borders to California-grown plums
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» January 11, 2006 «
It's a promising market that took more than a decade to open, so California plum growers say they're excited about upcoming sales to China. As many as half-a-million boxes of California-grown plums will be shipped to China this year. Government agencies and grower groups have been negotiating the deal since 1994. Marketers say they expect that, within just five years, China will become the top export destination for California plums.
More milk for fast-growing Southern California will be supplied by farms outside the region, because suburban growth has pushed dairy farms out of the Chino Valley. One large dairy cooperative says it has lost 40 percent of its Southern California milk production in the past three years. Many of the dairies that have left Chino have relocated to the Central Valley, although a number have gone out of business or moved out of state ... mainly to Idaho, New Mexico and Texas.
Signs point to continued increases in fertilizer prices, according to analysts who spoke at the American Farm Bureau annual meeting. Fertilizer costs mirror the price of natural gas, which is the key component in the manufacture of nitrogen-based fertilizer. Market analysts say demand for natural gas will continue to rise, and that will propel gas and fertilizer prices upward unless supplies keep pace.
With more school cafeterias preparing to offer fresh produce from local farms, researchers want to learn how current "farm-to-school" programs are working. Teams from the University of California, Davis, and Occidental College in Los Angeles will survey programs in nine Western states. They say their goal is to provide information to help school food-service directors connect with nearby farmers, to start and expand the farm-to-school programs.Top