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» August 9, 2007 «
Optimism runs high as farmers begin to harvest winegrapes in most California growing areas. The California Association of Winegrape Growers says a near-perfect growing season leads farmers to expect a high-quality harvest. An early start to harvest leaves farmers hopeful that they can finish picking their grapes before autumn rains arrive. Government forecasts indicate winegrape volumes should be slightly larger than a year ago.
Worried about the possible movement of a severe plant disease, California citrus groups filed comments against a proposed rule affecting movement of Florida-grown fruit. The U.S. Agriculture Department rule would allow greater flexibility to Florida farmers, in shipping fruit from areas infected with the disease known as citrus canker. California citrus groups say the rule needs to be strengthened, to protect existing fruit-production areas here and in Arizona.
Changing procedures for shipping American beef to South Korea lead some West Coast shipping companies to adjust their marketing plans. Even though consumers in South Korea want American beef, shippers say the rewards in sending beef there don't justify the risk that a shipment will be rejected. One shipping firm says other Asian markets … such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam … have been more accommodating to shipments of American beef.
There's no shortage of fresh tomatoes this summer, and farmers have felt the impact of the plentiful supplies. Government reports show that on-farm prices for fresh tomatoes average about $1.25 less than last year for each carton that farmers sell. The California Tomato Farmers cooperative says supplies on the market exceed demand. California ranks second in the nation in fresh-tomato production, behind Florida.Top