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» November 21, 2007 «
An initiative to reform government seizures of private property attracted more than 1 million signatures, which supporters began filing with California counties yesterday (Tuesday). Supporters aim the measure for the statewide ballot next June. It would bar government agencies from seizing property from one private owner and granting it to another private owner. A California Farm Bureau leader said it co-sponsored the measure to protect farmland from inappropriate seizures.
A Northern California county has declared itself free of a damaging grape pest. Solano County says no "glassy-winged sharpshooters" have been found there since May 2005. An infestation in Vacaville caused great concern, especially for grape growers in nearby Napa and Sonoma counties. With the sharpshooters now eradicated, Solano County says it will work to achieve similar success against populations of light brown apple moth and Mediterranean fruit fly.
Harvest operations reportedly went well in California walnut orchards, where the harvest season has now ended. Farmers say autumn rain in the Central Valley did slow things a little, by muddying orchard floors. With the nuts now gathered from the orchards, the focus moves to processing them to remove the hulls. Final totals for walnut production will be released in January. Pre-harvest estimates showed the crop down 8 percent compared to a year ago.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, the U.S. Agriculture Department reported yesterday that turkey production has been rising. Farmers sold nearly one and a half billion pounds of turkey in the third quarter of the year, up almost 5 percent from the same period a year ago. The USDA said it expects turkey production to rise more than 3 percent during the current quarter. Despite the increased production, the report says prices for whole turkeys have been higher.Top