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» March 21, 2006 «
Bush administration officials announced enhanced efforts to protect people and domestic poultry from a dangerous strain of bird flu. The plan focuses on early detection among wild, migratory birds entering the United States. Three cabinet secretaries outlined the government's plan yesterday (Monday). It involves a five-step approach to monitor wild birds and detect the "H5N1" virus if it enters the country.
Shipments of nursery plants have been rejected in four counties, after inspectors reported finding egg masses of the glassy-winged sharpshooter. The sharpshooter carries a plant disease that kills grapevines and other plants. Local officials monitor plant shipments from infested counties, to make sure no sharpshooters hitchhike in. In recent weeks, shipments to Sonoma, Monterey, Santa Clara and San Luis Obispo counties were returned to the nurseries that sent them.
Farm leaders welcomed the appointment of California Congressman Richard Pombo as vice chair of the House Agriculture Committee. Pombo, from Tracy, pledged to keep working to open both domestic and export markets for farm produce. California Farm Bureau President Doug Mosebar said Pombo's leadership will be invaluable during upcoming discussions of federal farm legislation. Pombo remains chairman of the House Resources Committee.
Improved healthfulness of grapes and wine may result from research announced by University of California scientists yesterday. Working with colleagues from Australia, specialists from UC Davis say they have found an enzyme in grapes that helps convert vitamin C into a key acid for winemaking. The Davis researchers say their discovery may lead to genetically designed grapes with elevated levels of vitamin C.Top