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» November 12, 2007 «
A rush to repair irrigation systems has been the first priority for many San Diego County farmers working to recover from wildfires. The executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau describes what he calls a "massive effort" to re-plumb and refit the irrigation systems. Even many farms that escaped damage to crops had irrigation pipe melted by the fires' heat. Now, crops need water, making the irrigation repair a top concern.
With a dispute still pending in the courts, the state has billed thousands of Californians, seeking payment for water rights permits. The California Farm Bureau and other groups have sought to block the fees, saying they constitute illegal taxes. In the meantime, the Farm Bureau recommends that bill payers file protest forms. That could improve chances of receiving a refund if the challenge to the water-rights payments succeeds.
A pending free-trade agreement between the United States and Peru could open markets for California farmers and ranchers. The House of Representatives approved the agreement last week and the Senate is also expected to approve it. Under the deal, Peru will lower its trade taxes on a number of agricultural products. The California Farm Bureau says that should benefit especially the state's producers of cotton, wheat, rice, dairy foods and beef products.
It was a sweet harvest in Central Valley sugar-beet fields. A crop report (issued Friday) says the beets harvested in the Central Valley showed record-high sugar content. The sugar-beet harvest has ended in Central California. Farmers are now planting the crop in the Imperial Valley, which is the state's leading sugar producer. Analysts say total sugar-beet production in California will drop 6 percent this year, because of reduced acreage.Top