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» August 20, 2007 «
Tight water supplies complicate both short-term and longer-term plans for farmers in the western San Joaquin Valley. For example, farmers now need to determine how much water will be available for the fall lettuce crop, which must soon be planted. Water from the federal Central Valley Project has been limited because of dry weather and regulatory actions … and would dwindle further if there's another dry winter. Farmers may wait as long as they can before deciding what to plant for next year.
The list of California counties declared natural disasters continues to grow. The U.S. Agriculture Department added four more on Friday, making farmers and ranchers eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans. Monterey and Ventura counties were declared disasters due to dry weather than has scorched pastures. In Nevada County, both drought and freeze led to the designation. Sutter County was added because of unseasonable heat during March.
Fewer apples will come from California orchards this season, but marketers say that will be a temporary phenomenon. A government report estimates a 4-percent drop in the state's apple production. The California Apple Commission says some farmers removed their orchards last fall, but planted new trees or grafted new varieties to existing rootstock. Though that means less production this year, the apple harvest should increase by 2010.
Farm exports from the United States appear on their way to a fifth straight record. An American Farm Bureau projection indicates that exports will top $80 billion, which would be up more than 12 percent on a year-to-year basis. A Farm Bureau economist credits the improved farm-export performance to strong economic growth around the world, combined with short-term weather developments and currency exchange rates.Top