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Audio ActualityActing Agriculture Secretary Conner's news conference
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» September 25, 2007 «
For the next 10 days or so, raisin-grape farmers will be monitoring their crops for signs of storm damage. A weekend rainstorm hit raisin-growing areas in the San Joaquin Valley. The Raisin Bargaining Association says the rain will definitely reduce the overall crop, but the extent of the damage will take a while to determine. Raisins drying in vineyards can develop mold or other damage when hit by rain.
Mild weather predicted for the rest of the week should benefit coastal winegrape harvests. Farmers say the expected weather should allow grapes to attain the sugar levels needed for picking. Weekend rain along the coast appears not to have damaged the grapes. Varieties that are most susceptible to rain have already been harvested. Red grapes that remain on the vines, such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot, have thicker skins and withstand rain better.
Working with Congress to rewrite farm policy will be a priority for the man named acting U.S. agriculture secretary last week. Acting secretary Chuck Conner told a Washington news conference yesterday (Monday) that he will urge the Senate to move quickly to finalize the Farm Bill. Conner said he had been focusing on the Farm Bill even before stepping in for Mike Johanns, who resigned as agriculture secretary, reportedly to seek a Senate seat in Nebraska.
Root diseases and soil-borne pests can take a severe toll on strawberry plants. Government researchers say they've developed a technique that could help small-scale strawberry farmers protect their crops. The researchers filled mesh tubes with compost, laid the tubes on top of infested soil, and planted strawberries in the compost tubes. The berries planted that way did much better than those planted directly in the infested soil.Top