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» March 29, 2007 «
It's a dry year. That's what the April Sierra snowpack measurement yesterday (Wednesday) shows. Statewide the snowpack is 46 percent of average. The amount of snow declined 50 percent from the March first measurement. This is the driest year since 1990, when the measurement was 40 percent of average during the April measurement. However, the Department of Water Resources says the news is tempered some by the above-average water in storage in the state's reservoirs.
Fresno County is seeking a disaster declaration for its sheep and cattle ranchers. The agricultural commissioner estimates a loss of more than $4 million because of weather. Rangeland has received only about 45 percent of the average precipitation. Forage was also stunted during the January freeze, and then unseasonable warm temperatures in March dried out most of the remaining grasses. Ranchers are buying supplemental food or moving their herds to rented pastures where forage grass is available.
Sixteen additional light brown apple moths have been found in San Francisco. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has established an interim regulatory action in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties. It requires that the 250 pest host items not be removed from school or community gardens, establishes inspection of retail nurseries and requires wholesale nurseries to sign compliance agreements before shipping any products. Thus far 55 of the destructive insects have been found in the Bay Area.
Farm Bureau has made an additional push to increase funding for farm bill programs that are successful in California. Californians are gearing up for the upcoming farm bill negotiations. Priorities include increasing funding for market access programs that would expand exports of farm goods, providing additional funding for research and expanding working conservation programs that assist with air and water quality improvements.Top