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» October 27, 2006 «
Future use of tens of thousands of acres of California land will be discussed at a half-dozen public meetings that begin next week. The land is owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and is being re-evaluated as PG&E emerges from bankruptcy. Cattle ranchers and beekeepers have leased some of the land, which has also been used for power generation, timber production and recreation. The meetings will help determine which activities continue or if new uses may develop.
Fuel prices continue to decline around California. The California Energy Commission reports that gasoline prices dropped an average six cents a gallon last week, to average $2.48. Most farm equipment runs on diesel fuel, and prices for diesel dropped to an average $2.67 a gallon. Production of both fuels continues at a faster pace than a year ago.
Rural-crime prevention along the Central Coast has gotten a boost. Law enforcement agencies in Monterey County received a $300,000 grant for rural crime prevention, in ceremonies this week. The money will be used to provide sheriff's deputies and prosecutors to work with farmers on crime prevention and investigation. Monterey County will be part of the Agricultural Crime Technology Information and Operations Network, based in Visalia.
Demand for California-grown wild rice has been strong, leading farmers to harvest more acreage this year. The California Wild Rice Advisory Board says it expects additional plantings next season, as well. With harvest now ended, farmers and marketers are evaluating how this season turned out. Intense heat during the summer appears to have reduced wild-rice production on valley farms, though the board says production in mountain regions remained strong.Top