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» February 8, 2007 «
For livestock ranchers, this week's rain could come in the nick of time ... especially if it's followed by more storms the rest of the winter. After one of the slowest starts to a rainy season in California history, pastures and feed crops need rain. A Plumas County cattle rancher says the precipitation will help him grow crops to feed his animals. Without adequate rain, many ranchers have had to tap more well water and buy supplemental feed.
In the wake of a freeze that ruined more than $1 billion worth of California crops, lawmakers introduced a bill yesterday (Wednesday) aimed at helping farmers and farmworkers recover. California lawmakers introduced the bill in both the House and Senate. If approved, it would make additional aid available for losses related to this year's freeze, last year's heat wave and flooding that occurred in 2005.
A new food-safety initiative for handlers of spinach, lettuce and other leafy green crops won certification yesterday from the state Department of Food and Agriculture. The department said handlers representing 70 percent of the state's leafy-greens production had already committed to the program. It will verify safety standards for leafy-green crops. The California Farm Bureau called the action "a big step forward in enhancing food safety."
New-generation sugar beets appear to fend off a crop disease that turned up in Southern California fields several years ago. A new strain of a virus got around the natural resistance that scientists had bred into earlier sugar-beet varieties. So, U.S. Agriculture Department researchers developed a variety of sugar beet to resist the new virus. Seed for the new variety will become available later this year.Top