Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» February 1, 2006 «
California lost another 500 farms during the past year, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The annual report, issued yesterday (Tuesday), says the inventory of California farmland also declined. The California Farm Bureau says the report shows the need for government policies that protect family farms. The vast majority of California farms are family owned, and the state's average farm size remains far smaller than the nationwide average.
There's greater demand for the tomatoes used to make salsa, ketchup and other products. As a result, California processors say they plan to offer contracts to farmers to grow 23 percent more tomatoes than last year. The 2005 crop was smaller than anticipated, because weather reduced tomato yields by 12 percent. California farms produce most of the processing tomatoes grown in the U.S.
Interest in growing pomegranates remains high. According to the Pomegranate Council, plant nurseries reported they've sold all the pomegranate rootstock available. That means a long-term commitment by farmers, because it takes four years for the trees to bear a crop for harvest. But worldwide demand for the fruit far exceeds supplies. California farmers expect they can sell pomegranates for fresh or processed use for about the same return.
Applying fertilizer to Central Valley farmland has less impact on air quality than once believed, according to a researcher at California State University, Fresno. The new study measured ammonia that reaches the air after fertilizer use. It also showed that the ammonia dissipates much more rapidly than regulators had assumed. The study found ways farmers minimize the air-quality impact when they apply fertilizer.Top