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» May 8, 2006 «
Immigration reform will be a key issue, as two-dozen Farm Bureau members from California visit Washington, D.C., this week. The family farmers and ranchers will meet with senators and House members. Farm Bureau leaders say they will urge completion of a comprehensive immigration-reform bill that includes improved guestworker programs. Delegation members will also explain how permanent repeal of the federal estate tax will help families transfer farms from one generation to the next.
It will be several more weeks before apricot growers can determine the size of this year's crop. Hail and rain hit a number of orchards during the bloom this spring ... so farmers expect the total crop to be smaller. But growers whose trees have fruit say they expect to harvest high-quality apricots. The question is when. Harvest could be at least two weeks later than average. California farms produce more than 90 percent of domestically grown apricots.
California-grown sweet corn has become more readily available in retail stores. Farmers in the Imperial, Coachella and Palo Verde valleys have been picking fresh corn for a few weeks now. Volume of both the yellow and white corn varieties has gradually increased and prices at the wholesale level have begun to soften slightly. Growers say they expect to have top-quality sweet corn available at least through June.
State authorities say they believe a small infestation of Asian longhorned beetles has been eradicated in Sacramento. They hope the destructive beetle doesn't return ... but if it does, government researchers say they've found an easy way to track it. The insect's droppings give it away, because its DNA is unique. With that knowledge, crews can more easily track infestations, and treat trees with a material that is 100 percent effective on the bugs.Top