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» June 21, 2007 «
New rules that could have disrupted the movement of California fruits and vegetables have been put on hold until December. The move allows farm groups, trucking organizations and the California Highway Patrol to collaborate on safety studies. Regulations had required truckers to change how they secure loads of produce, and many indicated they might not be able to comply in time for this year's harvest. Farm groups and truckers say they want to be sure that any changes actually enhance safety.
The word is "so far, so good" on the processing of crop-insurance claims from the January freeze, according to state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. Poizner visited a Central Valley citrus packinghouse yesterday (Wednesday) to meet with farmers who lost crops during the cold wave. The state Insurance Department says the freeze resulted in thousands of crop-loss and homeowners claims and that most of those claims have been settled.
As health authorities reported the year's first human case of West Nile virus in California, veterinarians reported a second case of the disease among horses. It occurred in Sonoma County, where another horse was diagnosed with equine west Nile virus earlier this year. The most recent horse had been partially vaccinated, but had not yet completed the series of shots. Equine West Nile virus has killed more than 200 California horses the past two years.
A new, faster test allows scientists to confirm quickly whether an insect or plant has the bacterium that causes Pierce's disease. The disease can destroy grapevines, and the same bacterium causes disease in other plants, as well. U.S. Agriculture Department researchers say the new tool should fill gaps in determining how the bacterium spreads and may ultimately help in work to develop a cure for the plant disease.Top