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» September 5, 2007 «
Expanding markets for California farm products will be a topic of an Agricultural Trade Roundtable being held in Monterey today (Wednesday). At the meeting, government negotiators will tell farmers about market opportunities in South Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere. More than 20 percent of California farm production is sold to foreign buyers. But trade moves both ways, and analysts will also discuss how California farmers have been affected by increasing foreign competition.
With water in short supply, farmers in the southern San Joaquin Valley are doing what they can to stretch the available water through the end of the growing season. In some cases, farm advisors say farmers decided not to irrigate final cuttings of alfalfa, to save the water to finish other late-summer crops. Reduction of water supplies from federal or state projects forced more farmers to use groundwater. That raises costs because of the energy required to pump the water from underground.
Two new counties have reported their first cases this year of equine West Nile virus. Horses in Kings and San Luis Obispo counties became the seventh and eighth California horses to die of the disease this year. The California Department of Food and Agriculture reports a total of 19 cases of equine West Nile virus, statewide. Veterinarians urge all horse owners to have their animals vaccinated.
A common form of yeast used in production of wine, beer and bread could become an uncommonly useful factor in the production of ethanol. Scientists at the University of California, Irvine, will work with a private firm to study the yeast. It could be used in production of ethanol from "biomass" sources such as wood or switchgrass. Researchers say they believe the yeast could produce more ethanol from the same amount of biomass, by breaking it down naturally.Top