Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityExcerpts from Bruce Knight's speech to the Farm Bureau Leadership Conference
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» February 28, 2007 «
U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bruce Knight told a meeting of Farm Bureau leaders he is working with Homeland Security to increase border inspections for agricultural pests. He also said the administration is seeking more funding to aid in developing an economical method to convert rice straw, orchard clippings and other materials into ethanol. He added the administration is proposing more funding in the farm bill for conservation easements as well as export assistance that would benefit California farmers and others who market overseas.
Snow has been falling in the Klamath Basin watershed this past week, and is expected to continue. More than two feet have been registered on sensors. However, the snowpack remains at about 91 percent of average. Heavy snow was reported in the mountains yesterday (Tuesday). The amount of snow will determine how much water the Bureau of Reclamation can allocate for farm irrigation water this spring and summer.
Rain has greatly improved range grass development, especially in Northern California. Ranchers there have been able to stop providing supplemental hay for their cattle. However, in the Central and Southern parts of California, grasses are still developing slowly. Ranchers no longer need to provide water, but still must supply hay. There are parts of the state that have missed rain altogether. The California Cattlemen's Association says ranchers near Bishop and in eastern Kern County have land that remains dry.
Artichoke production is increasing, as the plants rebound from the January freeze. Workers who were laid off following the freeze have been rehired and are harvesting artichokes daily. Rain has made the fields wet and slowed harvest operations, but it hasn't become so muddy that harvest can't continue. Volume is light for this time of year, but the California Artichoke Commission says farmers expect to have greater numbers of chokes about mid-March. For now they are available but pricey.Top