Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» August 4, 2006 «
The U.S. Senate may vote today (Friday) on the bill revising the estate tax. Farmers and ranchers are disappointed that repeal of the tax has gotten so tied up in politics. A provision of the bill raises the minimum wage, and other amendments are designed to garner moderate Democratic support. As it stands, the bill does provide indexing for the estate tax, but the tax is not fully eliminated. Under present law the estate tax reverts to the 2001 level in 2011.
As major harvest season approaches, farmers should have adequate supplies of diesel fuel. The California Energy Commission says inventories of the ultra low sulfur diesel fuel were almost 50 percent higher than last year at this time. The commission reports refineries in the state were operating at capacity. Wholesale gasoline prices declined slightly as supplies of that fuel increased. Gasoline production was also higher than last year.
Even with the hot weather, strawberry farmers continue to catch up with last year's record production. Farmers had picked a billion-13 million pounds as of July 31, compared to a billion-31 million pounds last year. The Santa Maria area was slow to get started this year because of earlier rain damage. However they are now picking beautiful ripe strawberries. Weather along the coast this week has been ideal for strawberry growth- cool with foggy mornings and mild afternoons.
Heat in the Imperial Valley continues, and farm crops are being damaged. Triple- digit temperatures continue unabated and citrus growers say there have been significant losses. Fruit is reported sunburned, and tree foliage has been scorched. A few trees have started to die. Heat caused Bermuda grass to grow in size rather than produce seed. The valley is one of the major sources of Bermuda grass seed, and the crop is greatly reduced.Top