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» August 17, 2007 «
There's a lot more corn being harvested in California. A government report issued yesterday (Thursday) predicts that the state's farmers will produce more than 900,000 tons of corn for grain, which is 78 percent more than last year. Strong demand and high prices have enticed farmers to plant much more corn. Weather has been favorable, and the report predicts growers will produce more than 4-and-a-half tons of corn on each acre planted.
It's not just four-legged livestock that's having trouble finding feed on California's dried-out land. Bees also face a shortage of naturally produced forage. Beekeepers have started providing their bees with supplemental feed, because there isn't much for them in the wild. Usually in the summer, beekeepers place hives in areas where wildflowers or other pollen-producing plants grow. But conditions are so dry, there is little pollen for bees to gather.
For the second time in as many days, federal officials have designated more California counties as agricultural disaster zones because of the state's dry weather. The U.S. Agriculture Department announced yesterday that Napa, Placer and Tuolumne counties had been declared disasters. Seven other counties were added the previous day, meaning nearly 30 counties are on the list. The declarations allow farmers and ranchers to apply for low-interest emergency loans.
Studies to be conducted this fall will help determine the safest methods for securing bins, tubs and other containers of fruits and vegetables being hauled on trucks. Results of the studies will be greatly anticipated in California. The Highway Patrol granted truckers a temporary exemption from new cargo-securement rules, to allow time for the study. The U.S. Department of Transportation allocated $250,000 to study the best way to secure crop containers on trucks.Top