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» January 6, 2005 «
As Congress opens its new session, leaders in both houses say they plan to introduce immigration-reform bills. The Senate version could resemble the "AgJOBS" bill introduced in the last Congress, which includes reforms of an existing agricultural guestworker program. The House leadership is discussing a broader measure that stresses increased border security. A California Farm Bureau spokesman says Congress will likely pass an immigration-reform bill this year.
To hedge their bets against a potential dry summer, Southern California water districts are negotiating to buy water from Northern California farmers. One Sacramento Valley irrigation district may decide this week whether to sell water to a Southern California agency. Farmers within the district would volunteer to idle their land and sell the water. The potential for lower rice prices may encourage more farmers to participate in the program.
Two rainstorms in two weeks have caused problems for date growers in the Southern California desert. Farmers in the Indio region says the rain causes fungal disease and can blemish the fruit. They hope a storm predicted for later this week will avoid their date groves. About 7 million pounds of dates remains on trees, which represents about 7 percent of the crop. Most of that fruit will be harvested for processing.
Hundreds of different proteins work together within a wheat kernel, to produce the characteristics that lead to high-quality bread flour. In a San Francisco Bay Area laboratory, federal researchers study those wheat proteins with the aim of creating better wheat flour. A government research agency says the California scientists are probably the first to explore the roles of wheat proteins so deeply.Top