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» October 23, 2006 «
After struggling with rapidly rising energy costs, California nursery growers see a more positive outlook for the coming winter. Natural gas prices have declined and analysts forecast the trend to continue. Most nursery operators depend on natural gas to keep their greenhouses warm. In San Diego County, the state leader in production of nursery plants, the natural-gas utility has announced another price cut. That means gas prices will be below levels of a year ago.
Crop forecasters say supplies of fresh tomatoes have begun to rebound, after a gap caused by weather problems in California and other growing regions. A government outlook report says fresh tomatoes from Florida have begun reaching market in higher volumes, reducing wholesale prices. Heavy rains and hot weather slowed Florida's crop. Because California production was hurt by the July heat wave, tomato supplies have been relatively short for several weeks.
Livestock owners must pay premium prices for top-quality hay this year. California hay growers report that per-acre yields have dipped to the lowest level since 1998. Poor weather cut hay production. High-test hay is in short supply, forcing prices up to nearly $200 dollars a ton. That has forced tough decisions for some dairy farmers. Because of low milk prices, they may be reluctant to pay the demand price for top quality hay.
They've been a hit on the small screen, and soon "Got milk?" advertisements will begin appearing on movie screens around California. The organization behind the "Got milk?" ads … the California Milk Processor Board … says its latest ads will be projected in some 500 movie theaters beginning next month. The spots feature aliens trying to take California cows back to their home planet. The board created the "Got milk?" campaign in 1993.Top