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» June 22, 2007 «
U.S. Senate debate on immigration reform is expected to resume next week, and California Senator Dianne Feinstein renewed her call for provisions to address labor shortages on farms and ranches. At a Capitol Hill news conference yesterday (Thursday), Feinstein called it "absolutely critical" that the immigration bill create a stable, reliable supply of people to fill on-farm jobs. Farm and labor groups support a program called "AgJOBS" that would address the problem.
With the California cherry harvest now virtually completed, marketers say the crop lived up to farmers' pre-season hopes. The California Cherry Advisory Board says the amount of fruit that farmers sold rose 144 percent compared to last year. Favorable weather throughout the growing-and-harvest cycle contributed to the improvement. The board reports strong demand for cherries from both domestic and export markets, which meant farmers earned good prices for the fruit.
A prediction of better demand for sugar beets next year may entice farmers to plant more. The California Beet Growers Association says acreage has been declining, as farmers opt to plant crops that promise better returns. The U.S. Agriculture Department says the state's sugar beet production dropped 5 percent last year, at the same time that national production set records. All California-grown sugar beets come from the San Joaquin and Imperial valleys.
Controlling flies may play a larger role in controlling the spread of a deadly poultry disease. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, report mounting evidence that flies can spread exotic Newcastle disease to chickens. The finding provides a new way to prevent the disease, which spreads primarily through direct contact between birds. Exotic Newcastle disease killed more than 3 million chickens during an outbreak in Southern California in 2002 and 2003.Top