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» September 25, 2006 «
Two senators say they will try this week to win congressional approval for the "AgJobs" temporary-worker program. Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Larry Craig of Idaho want to attach the AgJobs bill to the border-fence legislation to be debated this week. The AgJobs program would allow immigrants to enter the country legally in order to harvest crops. Farmers throughout the nation have reported shortages of harvest help this year.
Two weather extremes, frost and heat, have shortened the California winegrape crop. A late spring frost in Santa Barbara County has reduced grape production there. In the Central Valley and other regions, it's the July heat that has cut yields from winegrape vineyards. As farmers start to pick their crops, the California Association of Winegrape Growers says they're observing more damage to red varietals than previously reported.
With investigators continuing their probe into the cause of illnesses linked to fresh spinach, farmers and processors continue to cooperate with health officials seeking the cause of the problem. California Farm Bureau Federation President Doug Mosebar says he hopes the investigation leads to effective actions that prevent future problems. Mosebar said farmers and ranchers are committed to do everything within their power to assure a safe food supply.
Half of the California horses infected with West Nile virus this year have died. But the number of horses hit by the disease remains much lower than a year ago. The most recent case of equine West Nile virus was reported in Santa Barbara County this past week. The horse died, bringing the death toll to 22 of the 44 horses infected. State veterinarians say they expect the number of additional cases to taper off as the weather cools.Top