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» March 10, 2006 «
Invaders have taken over large swaths of California land, and a coalition came to Sacramento this week to seek help from the state Legislature. Invasive weeds choke thousands of acres in the state, harming livestock and wildlife, intensifying wildfires and threatening natural diversity. A bill before the Legislature would boost the work of local Weed Management Areas, which use a variety of strategies to fight invasive weeds.
With a key marketing period ahead, asparagus growers in the San Joaquin Delta say they hope skies clear so they can resume harvest next week. Right now, asparagus fields remain too wet for harvest operations. Once harvest resumes, marketing conditions look favorable for the crop, because Mexican farmers are ending their season. That would leave the Easter market to California growers, and asparagus demand usually peaks before Easter.
Improved demand for tomato products will likely lead to more plantings of processing-variety tomatoes in California this year. The California Tomato Growers Association has been negotiating with the state's canneries, and says they have been offering higher prices. Farmers can expect an average of $59 a ton for tomatoes, up from $50 last year. Muddy fields have slowed early tomato planting in much of the San Joaquin Valley.
Plantings of mandarin orange groves have been increasing in the Sierra foothills, and a University of California report says it expects demand for the fruit to continue to rise. The report says farmers in Placer County, east of Sacramento, have a head start because of the region's growing reputation for mandarin production. The average American eats about 3 pounds of mandarins a year, but UC says demand has been rising for the healthy, easy-to-eat fruit.Top