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» September 12, 2007 «
Siskiyou County strawberry plant nursery growers report vast improvement since a July storm damaged their fields. However, it still is uncertain how many plants will be available this fall. Farmers who want to plant early may find shortages will be greater than those who normally plant later. Plant harvest will start about a week later than usual. Weather since the storm has been good, and some plants that looked dead have rebounded. The California Strawberry Commission and the county's agricultural commissioner's office agree there will be a shortfall, but no one is certain what the impact will be on next years production.
As farmers harvest, farm groups are pressing Congress to pass the AgJOBS bill. That's a measure that would provide temporary foreign workers to assist in farm production. Thus far reports from farm fields indicate that the labor supply this year is tight. But, growers are concerned about the impact of a federal administrative rule which would require farmers to dismiss workers whose Social Security numbers do not match their names. That could lead to a labor shortage as production peaks.
Tiny phorid flies and two parasitic microsporidia are the latest weapons researchers have found in the battle against the red imported fire ant. Research entomologists say the new insects only attack the red imported fire ants. That insect has been confined to three Southern California counties since being found in the state. The researchers hope to slow the spread of red imported fire ants in southern states. California entomologists believe they could eradicate the pest here if state funding is resumed.
California-grown pumpkins are headed to retail stores, and some chains already have them for sale. Growers say this has been a good year for pumpkin production as it wasn't as hot as last year. California farmers have also started shipping pumpkins to Hawaii for Halloween. Growers say there should be adequate supplies. But, while production looks promising, farmers caution that pumpkins do not like heavy rain. Thus a storm over the growing areas could reduce crop size.Top