Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityHay prices and availability in the coming year
mp3 | Real Audio (Real Player required)
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» December 24, 2007 «
An updated estimate indicates water supplies for many Californians could be reduced up to 30 percent, as water projects change operations to aid a protected fish. A federal judge issued a final ruling earlier this month, outlining protections for the delta smelt. The State Water Project estimated (Friday) that those protections could reduce water supplies to its customers by anywhere from 7 percent to 30 percent, depending on a variety of conditions.
Dairy farmers, horse owners and other livestock ranchers faced high prices for hay during 2007, and analysts say there's little change in sight for the new year. Usually, farmers would increase plantings of alfalfa and other hay when prices are high, but observers say that's not happening. Concerns about water availability have kept farmers from planting more alfalfa. Many have planted wheat instead. It also commands high prices and costs less to grow.
Lingering concerns about the availability of harvest workers has affected demand for certain types of young trees. Nursery operators say farmers have been reluctant to buy citrus and stone-fruit trees for new orchards. They say farmers aren't investing in those trees because they're not sure they'll be able to hire enough help to pick the fruit. Farmers have had chronic problems filling their harvest crews in recent years, and citrus and stone-fruit crops must be harvested by hand.
They could be the last of their kind: The U.S. Agriculture Department announced (Friday) it will distribute payments to 41 states, to replace money lost due to restrictions that reduce timber revenue from national forests. California rural counties and schools will share more than $66 million. But the program expires after this year, and representatives of timber-producing counties have been urging Congress to renew it.Top