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» March 8, 2006 «
An encouraging trend continues for California beef producers, as Malaysia announced yesterday (Tuesday) that it will resume imports of American beef. Although Malaysia is a small market, California beef marketers say it joins a number of Asian nations in resuming sales. Many countries banned U.S. beef after a case of the cattle disease BSE was found in late 2003. The top foreign market for California beef, Japan, remains closed.
Projections for water runoff from the Colorado River have dropped. Southern California cities and farms rely on the Colorado for much of their water supply. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation now anticipates that runoff from the Colorado will be about average. That's down from earlier projections. Storms have missed the lower portion of the river's watershed in recent weeks.
Orange harvest has been halted by rain in the San Joaquin Valley. Citrus orchards remain too muddy for workers to pick fruit. More rain is predicted for later this week, but some fruit can be picked from groves that dry quickly between storms. The California Citrus Growers Association says ample supplies of navel oranges remain in distribution channels. Consumers can expect to find California navel oranges in retail stores until June.
Even though cool temperatures have slowed harvest for now, California strawberry growers continue a record production pace. As of the end of February, farmers had shipped more than 100 million pounds of berries, up sharply from the same time a year ago. The California Strawberry Commission attributes the increase to perfect early-winter weather, along with additional acreage in production. Most of the berries are coming from Southern California fields.Top