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» August 24, 2007 «
An immigration reform plan for on-farm jobs could return before Congress this autumn, and California farmers and ranchers say they need action quickly. A plan known as AgJOBS was included in a comprehensive immigration bill that stalled in the U.S. Senate this summer. Supporters have discussed reintroducing it when Congress returns from its recess. Farmers say the AgJOBS bill would assure that enough people can enter the country legally to harvest crops.
Rain has damaged tomatoes in many parts of the country during recent days … but not in California. And that means farmers here have seen improved demand for their crops. The Fresno-based California Tomato Farmers cooperative says on-farm prices for fresh tomatoes have risen after the weather problems elsewhere. Tomato-growing conditions in California have remained ideal, so farmers here should have plenty available to meet the increasing demand.
Cotton farmers could produce record yields, thanks to near-perfect weather in the Central Valley. But, while the amount of cotton per acre may reach an all-time high, the number of acres planted in cotton is only about half what it was a decade ago. The Calcot cotton cooperative says it expects harvest to start near the end of September. The harvest could progress fairly quickly. The number of harvesting machines has not declined, leaving plenty of machines available for the reduced acreage.
The slowdown in the housing market has reduced demand for timber. The Western Wood Products Association projects continued slower demand for timber through next year. That leaves California tree farmers to cope with declining demand even as costs increase for their required timber harvest plans. A university study shows those harvest plan costs have jumped some 1,200 percent in the last 20 years.Top