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» March 7, 2008 «
A deadline looms at the end of next week, for finishing work on new federal farm legislation. The current Farm Bill expires March 15th, unless Congress extends it or agrees on a new bill that President Bush will sign. A California Farm Bureau spokesman says negotiations on the new bill have taken an unusually long time. The bill authorizes federal food and nutrition programs, as well as conservation, research and commodity programs that affect farmers and ranchers.
The fierce winds that preceded last October's Southern California firestorms have led to an agricultural disaster declaration. The U.S. Agriculture Department declared Ventura County as a primary disaster area yesterday (Thursday). That allows farmers there and in neighboring counties to apply for low-interest disaster loans. Ventura County officials report that the strong winds caused more than $55 million in damage to avocados and lemons.
Favorable crop prices and an improved Sierra snowpack may combine to cut the number of Sacramento Valley farmers offering to sell water this spring. Water managers say attractive prices for rice and other crops may discourage farmers from leaving land fallow in order to sell water. Federal officials said yesterday they had finished environmental review of one potential water transfer from the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District to a San Joaquin Valley water agency.
There's new evidence that eating broccoli and similar vegetables can help people ward off disease. A study published this week by researchers at UCLA found that a chemical in broccoli activates antioxidant genes and enzymes. Those antioxidants fight molecules that damage cells and lead to disease. UCLA scientists say the compound in broccoli may help restore the body's immunity, which declines as people age.Top