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» January 25, 2008 «
The federal government reaffirmed its commitment to eradicating the light brown apple moth yesterday (Thursday), by providing more than $74 million to fight the pest. The apple moth infests a nine-county region in Central California, threatening native plants and crops. The U.S. Agriculture Department said its money will help continue and expand eradication efforts. It will also set traps to verify that the apple moth does not exist anywhere else in the continental U.S.
Rainfall and water supplies will have a lot to do with how much rice California farmers plant this spring. The California Rice Commission says strong prices for rice provide optimism. But if it's a dry year, the commission says, Sacramento Valley farmers may choose to plant less rice and perhaps sell water to other areas. A government report this week said the state's crop rose last year, thanks to improved weather for rice farming.
A combination of strong demand and record yields led to a good year for California sweet potato farmers. Farmers harvested an average of 32,000 pounds of sweet potatoes per acre last year. That's the highest figure ever. The Sweet Potato Council of California says increasing demand has meant that farmers have earned good prices for the crop. The council says it expects California farmers to plant more sweet potato acreage this year.
A prototype device appears to reduce dust that can occur during harvest of almonds, walnuts and other tree nuts. Now, government researchers will work with a California company to try to perfect the device. It would be attached to the machines that scoop up nuts, after they've been placed on the ground during harvest. The prototype device traps soil, twigs and leaves, to prevent them from being blown out of the machine during the nut harvest.Top