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» November 7, 2006 «
For rural voters, today's (Tuesday's) California election will decide on candidates and issues that could affect family farmers and ranchers for years to come. The state's largest farm organization, the California Farm Bureau, has endorsed a number of candidates it considers farm-friendly, and made recommendations on statewide ballot measures. The Farm Bureau's political affairs manager says farmers and ranchers have increased their political involvement.
Farmers and ranchers in more California counties may now qualify for disaster aid, to recover from the severe July heat wave. The U.S. Agriculture Department has designated another six counties as natural disaster areas. Now, 22 counties have been declared disasters because of the heat, and farmers in neighboring counties may also apply. The USDA makes low-interest loans and other aid available to help farmers recover from weather-related disasters.
Fresh cranberries should be in plentiful supply for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Hailstorms hurt some berries in the nation's top cranberry-growing state, Wisconsin. But overall production is expected to be 5 percent higher than last year. Retailers usually feature fresh cranberries before Thanksgiving. People who also want to have them on hand for Christmas can freeze a bag for use at that time.
A compound used in human deodorant products may also be used to neutralize odors on livestock farms. Agricultural researchers say the substance, aluminum chloride, significantly reduces ammonia emissions from farm animal buildings. In addition, it reduces the phosphorus in waste material, helping to protect water quality. The researchers say the method may be both more efficient and environmentally friendly than other techniques.Top