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» June 7, 2006 «
Because federal estate taxes make it difficult to pass family farms from one generation to the next, farm groups want the U.S. Senate to match the House, by approving permanent repeal of the tax. Senators are expected to begin debate on permanent repeal this week. Under current law, the tax will be phased out in 2010, but then return the next year. In the past, family farms have been sold in order to pay the estate tax obligation.
No news is good news for pest fighters in Fresno County. They have not found any additional peach fruit flies in the last two and a half weeks. Crews have set 9,700 bait stations in the quarantine zone. The discovery of six fruit flies last month triggered the quarantine. The county agricultural commissioner says he's optimistic that no new pests will be found. If that's the case, the quarantine could be lifted by late August or mid-September.
Excellent quality melons are being harvested in the Imperial Valley. Farmers expect to continue shipping fruit until July 4th. They credit warm weather in the desert for contributing to high quality among the melons ... noting that the cantaloupes they're harvesting are sweet tasting and nicely shaped. Demand has been strong for both cantaloupe and honeydew melons, and farmers say they expect demand for watermelon to improve.
As they near the end of a delayed planting season, California rice farmers now turn their hopes toward the autumn. Because cool, wet spring weather postponed rice planting, farmers will need favorable weather this fall to insure they can maximize their harvests. Growers who plant this late in the season use varieties that mature faster. Government forecasters estimate that only 26 percent of the state's rice crop has emerged, compared with 63 percent last year at this time.Top