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» March 30, 2007 «
Calling bees the "unsung heroes" in production of almonds and other crops, a California farm leader urged Congress yesterday (Thursday) to commit more resources to the health of the nation's bee colonies. Diseases and pests have whittled away at the bee population, which pollinates billions of dollars' worth of crops. California Farm Bureau vice president Paul Wenger told a House Agriculture Subcommittee that more research is needed to restore beehives to full health.
Relief for farmers, farmworkers and small business owners hurt by weather disasters has been included in a supplemental funding bill that passed the U.S. Senate yesterday. The bill includes money to help farmers replace trees killed by the January freeze, and to aid dairy farmers who lost cows to the severe California heat wave last summer. The House also included disaster aid in its version of the spending bill. A conference committee must resolve differences between the two bills.
Lower prices resulted in reduced California egg production last month. A government report says the state's hens produced 37 million fewer eggs than they did the previous month. The average on-farm price for eggs dropped by 16 cents a dozen. Egg farmers typically earn higher prices in the weeks prior to Easter and analysts report that prices have risen somewhat since February.
It was an alert citizen who first tipped inspectors to a pest that could threaten many California crops. A retired University of California insect expert found an unusual moth in his Berkeley backyard. He identified it as a light brown apple moth and notified officials. They hope the early identification may help keep the moth out of farming regions. Officials have asked Bay Area nurseries and community gardens to take actions that prevent the apple moth from spreading.Top