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» January 5, 2005 «
The reopening of cattle imports from Canada has caught the attention of ranchers on this side of the border. The U.S. plans to allow the imports because it says Canada has adequate systems to respond to cases of the cattle disease BSE. U.S. ranchers have seen foreign markets closed for their beef, after a single BSE case more than a year ago. A California Farm Bureau spokesman says he hopes foreign nations will soon reopen markets to American beef.
Expect to see a continued emphasis on salads and other healthy fare, when you go out to eat this year. The National Restaurant Association says salads as main courses have increased in popularity more than any other menu items. That's true in both full-service and "quick-service" restaurants. The association's 2005 forecast says restaurants will respond to the interest in healthy lifestyles by offering customers more choice and customization on menus.
As farmers look toward spring planting, they've seen a hopeful trend in fuel prices. The California Energy Commission says fuel prices have declined for the eleventh straight week and that the general trend remains toward lower prices. Analysts say warmer-than-expected weather in the Eastern states and Europe has improved availability of diesel fuel. But they caution that markets for both gasoline and diesel fuel will remain volatile.
Markets for squash have expanded during the past 30 years, attracting the notice of farmers in both the United States and Mexico. Americans now consume more than 1.3 billion pounds of squash a year. Farmers in California, Florida and other states have planted more squash, including zucchini, yellow squash and other varieties. More than 35 percent of domestic squash demand is satisfied by imports, and most of that squash comes from Mexico.Top