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» April 3, 2007 «
Twenty additional light brown apple moths have been found in the Bay Area, bringing the total thus far to 75. Marin County has now been added to the interim regulatory action zone after discoveries of the moth in San Rafael and Sausalito, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The action requires that 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. The first moth was found in Berkeley February 27.
Funding for rural schools and counties in California in the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program has been approved by both houses of Congress and is being debated this week by a conference committee. Because the previous funding program ends this summer, teachers in the affected schools are being notified their contracts may not be renewed. The funds go to 39 counties where logging cutbacks reduced school and county revenues. The federal government shared timber sales receipts with counties prior to timber harvest reductions.
Navel orange harvest is slowing after the January freeze damage. Growers are continuing to harvest, but are sorting fruit carefully to find market-quality oranges, according to the California Citrus Growers Association. Although the volume is declining, farmers with larger acreages continue to find good-quality fruit. However, the season will end by mid-May, and volumes will gradually decline between now and then. Consumers may see somewhat higher prices as volume shrinks.
Blueberries have additional health benefits, according to agricultural scientists. Feeding hamsters blueberry skins resulted in 37 percent lower cholesterol levels than for those hamsters in the control group that did not get skins. A second study shows blueberries help fight colon cancer. In that work, rats fed a diet with the beneficial ingredient from blueberries reduced colon lesions 57 percent compared to the control group. Harvest of California-grown blueberries starts next month.Top