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» November 16, 2006 «
They're sending high-quality melons to market, but not as many as they'd hoped. Imperial Valley farmers report that insect pests have spread a virus into several melon fields. Whiteflies carry a plant disease called Gemini virus. The virus has damaged vines so much that some farmers have disked their fields, because they didn't have enough melons to harvest. The Imperial County agricultural commissioner's office says there will still be plenty of melons available in supermarkets.
As congressional Democrats elect their new leaders, farm groups prepare to work with a Congress that will have a new composition after 12 years of Republican leadership. A California Farm Bureau spokesman says the organization has traditionally worked with members from both parties to benefit family farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau says it will continue to stress issues such as immigration reform, estate-tax reform, conservation, international trade and agricultural policy.
Nearly a dozen California farm organizations have earned help from a federal program to boost farm exports. The U.S. Agriculture Department announced grants yesterday (Wednesday), from three market-development programs. California-based groups will receive money to address trade barriers for crops such as cherries, citrus fruit and table grapes. Other groups will receive grants to promote tomatoes, raisins and more California crops.
After reporting record sales yesterday, the largest marketer of California almonds said it sees a "golden opportunity" to expand markets even further. At its annual meeting in Modesto, the Blue Diamond Growers cooperative said sales of its branded almond products rose 36 percent in the most recent marketing year. Almond production is expected to increase sharply, but the co-op president said that represents an opportunity to introduce more consumers to almonds.Top