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» January 5, 2007 «
Despite a slow start for the Sierra snowpack, forecasters say there's still plenty of time for precipitation to catch up to normal. Snow surveyors for the state Department of Water Resources made their first visit to a measuring site at Echo Summit yesterday (Thursday), and found snow depths at 55 percent of average. Statewide, the snowpack measures less than 60 percent of average. But experts say one or two good storms would cause the snowpack to recover fairly quickly.
High winds that whipped the Southern California coast last week caused millions of dollars in crop damage. In Santa Barbara County alone, officials estimate at least $20 million in losses. The county agricultural commissioner said yesterday that three-quarters of the damage figure comes from losses to avocados. The winds blew fruit off trees, leaving it a total loss. Nursery crops and lemons also suffered. Santa Barbara County will apply for federal disaster aid.
It's a struggle for exporters seeking to sell beef to Asian countries. Several Asian nations have reopened their beef markets, after closing them when the cattle disease BSE was found in the United States. Although beef shipments to Japan, Korea and other nations have resumed, exporters say their shipments often face rejection from inspectors in the buying countries. And they say government paperwork for beef exports has increased from a one-day job to a four-day job.
You've seen baby carrots, baby corn, baby squash ... and now, baby yams. A California packer has been marketing baby yams as an experiment. Farmers pick the small sweet potatoes off their conveyor belts during harvest and ship them to the packing facility, where they're wrapped in 16-ounce packages. The Sweet Potato Council of California says it may open a niche market for the crop.Top