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» February 15, 2006 «
Providing raw materials to produce alternative fuel offers opportunities for California farmers and ranchers, according to a state official. California Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura says he foresees many ways farmers can contribute raw materials for ethanol, biodiesel and biomass for energy. Kawamura says farm-raised fuels would be helpful not only for cars, but could help run power plants, water pumps and other equipment.
Consumers in Taiwan will again be able to buy American beef, starting this week. The first shipments to Taiwan have arrived, after the nation agreed to resume imports of U.S. beef. It had suspended imports after a case of the cattle disease BSE turned up in the United States. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says it plans promotions in Taiwan to welcome the resumed trade. Taiwan has been a top-five market for California beef exports.
A cooling trend is due for the Central Valley this week, which may help orchards partially catch up with the "chillingquot; hours they need. Pistachio growers say their orchards need 750 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees, in order to assure a strong bloom. This year, some orchards have had less than half that much chilling. The impact will be seen when pistachio trees begin to blossom. That usually happens in early April, but farmers say this year's bloom may come sooner.
By producing more asparagus on each acre of ground, California farmers may be able to compete more readily with their competitors in Peru and Mexico. University of California researchers said yesterday (Tuesday) that they've bred a new variety of asparagus that promises higher yields. UC Riverside plant breeders say the new asparagus will be similar in taste to earlier varieties. Tests on the new asparagus variety started in 1990.Top