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» March 13, 2007 «
A survey of Young Farmers and Ranchers at a meeting of that Farm Bureau group shows the majority of them say they are better off financially now than they were five years ago. They are also optimistic about the future and believe their children can continue in farming or ranching. Their top concern is availability of land and facilities. This reflects the growing demand for U.S. farmland along with the loss of some farms to urban development.
Delta asparagus growers are ramping up production under ideal weather. Forecasts for the next 10 days call for highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s, which would produce excellent quality asparagus. Retailers begin stocking for Easter next week and farmers will have supplies of excellent quality asparagus for them. The California Asparagus Commission expects production from the delta growing region to be in high gear for the next 90 days.
Sweet potato farmers are preparing hot beds, which produce the plants needed for production. They cover seed potatoes with soil and cover that with hoops, which act like a greenhouse. The seed potatoes can produce as many as 12 plants that workers pick and plant. Actual planting of the crop is about four weeks away. The Sweet Potato Council of California expects a slight increase in acreage this season. Field preparation for the crop is also under way.
The University of California has designated 10 acres at its Kearney Research center near Parlier for organic research. Sales of organically grown produce increased 200 percent between 1998 and 2005. A one-acre plot has been used for organic research since 1996, but more is needed to provide information about building up more productive and healthy soil, along with other developments. The information is also available to farmers who choose not to be totally organic, but wish to use the data in their production practices.Top