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» May 31, 2006 «
Rain, hail, floods and frost have caused crop damage across wide swaths of California since the first of the year, and 31 of the state's 58 counties have sought federal disaster declarations for crop losses. Authorities tracking the damage estimates say the requests frequently mention damage to alfalfa, tree fruit and vegetables. Loss estimates to date total about $300 million, but the full extent of the damage probably won't be known until after harvest.
They would prefer to have their crop completely planted by now, but California rice farmers still have not been able to plant about 20 percent of their land. The wet spring prevented rice farmers from preparing their fields, thereby delaying the planting. Farmers have been working long hours to make up for time lost. Observers say about 90 percent of the state's rice fields should be planted by end of the week.
California-based food scientists lent their expertise to food shippers in Afghanistan, to help them comply with international safety standards. The Food Science Department of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, worked with U.S. government agencies to coordinate the training seminars. The U.S. Agriculture Department said yesterday (Tuesday) that the training will help Afghanistan's nut and dried-fruit shippers sell products to foreign customers.
The association representing fish farmers says it hopes a new state law will not discourage new aquaculture operations along the California coast. The law, signed last week, sets new rules for farmers who seek to raise fish such as sea bass and tuna. A California Aquaculture Association spokesman says that, depending on how the new law is implemented, it could slow new, coastal fish farms in California and send them to Mexico instead.Top