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» October 11, 2006 «
A later and lighter California pistachio harvest continues. Farmers say they're finding fewer pistachios in their orchards, and that crop volume may be down as much as 20 percent compared to a year ago. A farmer in Madera County says a warm winter and rainy spring affected yields from pistachio orchards throughout the state. The grower says a carryover of pistachios from last season's crop means shoppers should find steady supplies and prices.
Prospects for warmer weather in the coming week hearten Central Valley cotton farmers, whose harvest is slowly beginning. A crop report issued yesterday (Tuesday) said only 1 percent of the state's cotton has been harvested. It says most of the crop remains in good or excellent condition. Rice farmers also remain behind a typical schedule, though they have harvested nearly 60 percent of their crop. Cool and wet spring weather delayed planting of both rice and cotton this year.
What will become California's largest ethanol plant will begin operating next week in Madera. Pacific Ethanol announced the plant's completion this week and said it should reach full production capacity within 30 days. That means the plant will be producing ethanol at the rate of 35 million gallons a year. The plant will use corn grown in California and the Midwest. Pacific Ethanol says it plans to build four more ethanol plants in the next two years.
A donation of forestland will boost outdoor education for students in eight Northern California counties. At a ceremony near Marysville today (Wednesday), the Soper-Wheeler Company will donate land to Woodleaf Outdoor School. It conducts weeklong sessions for 6th-graders, who study the forest with naturalists, biologists and other experts. Soper-Wheeler, the state's oldest privately owned forestry company, said it has long supported such outdoor-education programs.Top