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» September 14, 2006 «
California farmers returned to Washington, DC, this week to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration-reform plan. Despite reports that Congress is unlikely to act before it adjourns, farmers say they remain optimistic that progress can be made. They are encouraging passage of a plan that combines tighter border restrictions with a temporary-worker program. It would allow people to enter the U.S. legally to harvest crops before returning to their home countries.
As cotton farmers in the southern San Joaquin Valley prepare for harvest, crop advisers report that they've had to battle a small-but-bothersome pest. Whiteflies have been a bigger problem this year, according to one Bakersfield-based pest control advisor. Whiteflies can migrate into cotton fields from household landscape plants or nearby crops that act as hosts. A crop report describes three-quarters of California cotton in "good" condition, and most of the rest as "excellent."
After supply gaps caused by spring rains that disrupted planting, supplies of brussels sprouts have begun to increase. Farmers along the Central Coast, who produce virtually all domestically grown sprouts, continue in the first picking of the crop. They say volume is only about half of what it was at this time last year, but that quality is excellent. The supply of brussels sprouts on the market should increase around the end of this month.
The "Happy Cows" marketing campaign used to promote California cheese has made a big impression among viewers of Spanish-language television. The California Milk Advisory Board began running Spanish versions of the humorous ads in January. Following a six-month campaign, 62 percent of Spanish-speaking women surveyed said they bought California cheese. That's up sharply from levels before the campaign. The ads were first tested in Texas, then aired nationwide.Top