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» February 14, 2007 «
Farmers continue to grapple with the impact of last month's freeze, and small-scale farmers face particular problems. Representatives say many suffered severe crop losses, most had no crop insurance and won't have anything to sell for weeks. State Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura will tour small-acreage farms in Fresno County today (Wednesday). Meanwhile, Governor Schwarzenegger said he will make $85 million available to help freeze victims pay rent.
Wheat crops that had emerged prior to the freeze now show some effects. A bulletin from the California Wheat Commission says farmers who planted their winter wheat crop in October and early November now notice leaf yellowing linked to the freeze. Farm advisors say the result could be reduced yields when the wheat is harvested. Later plantings appear less affected by the cold weather. Farmers welcomed the recent rain, but now are checking their fields for any appearance of fungal diseases.
Moving quickly to inaugurate a new food-safety program for leafy green crops, the state Food and Agriculture Department announced yesterday (Tuesday) the appointment of a 13-member board to oversee the effort. The Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement will use an inspection program to verify that handlers of lettuce, spinach and other crops comply with uniform food-safety standards. The board will hold its first meeting in Woodland next week.
Saying it has developed a first-of-its-kind container, an Oxnard farm says it has begun shipping celery in a recyclable box. Deardorff Family Farms says the new box can be recycled once it's empty. Until now, celery has usually been shipped in wax-saturated boxes that had to be discarded after use. The farm says it and other produce shippers have also reduced waste by shipping more vegetables in returnable plastic containers.Top