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» February 22, 2007 «
A crucial period has begun for California's largest orchard crop. Almond blossoms have opened on trees throughout California. The Blue Diamond Growers almond cooperative reports adequate numbers of bees have been brought to orchards, to pollinate the crop. Farmers say one day of rain wouldn't have much impact on pollination, but several days of rain would. Marketers say they hope for a large almond crop to meet rising worldwide demand.
The year's first case of equine West Nile virus has been reported. The state Department of Food and Agriculture said yesterday (Wednesday) that a horse in Sonoma County has been diagnosed with the disease. This marks the earliest detection of the illness. Last year, California didn't report its first case until June. West Nile virus killed 24 California horses last year. Veterinarians say the detection should serve as a reminder to horse owners to have their animals vaccinated.
After 10 years of reductions, California's apple acreage appears to have stabilized. The California Apple Commission says farmers removed 400 acres of apple trees this winter, but 300 of those have been replanted or grafted to new varieties. About 15 thousand acres of apple trees have been removed since California's acreage peaked a decade ago, at about 38 thousand. But the commission says apple prices have improved in recent years.
The state's largest high-school organization has a new place to call home. Years of planning and fund-raising paid off with the dedication of the FFA Center in Galt yesterday. Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the FFA boasts more than 64 thousand members in California. The new center features a six-acre campus that includes laboratory classrooms, meeting rooms and administrative offices for the statewide FFA organization.Top