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» March 12, 2008 «
Diesel-fuel prices have soared just as many California farmers begin fieldwork for spring planting. High fuel prices have been a concern on the farm for several years. Farmers say they'll be as efficient as they can, often by trying to reduce the number of trips a tractor makes through a field. A few farmers have fuel storage facilities and bought diesel fuel when prices were lower last winter. But many farmers don't have that option and must buy a truckload at a time.
A deadline for completing work on new federal farm legislation will apparently be extended by a month. Congressional leaders indicated yesterday (Tuesday) that they had agreed to extend the existing Farm Bill until April 18th. Without an extension, the law would have expired this Saturday. Congress and the Bush administration have been negotiating a new, multi-year bill. The Farm Bill authorizes a variety of nutrition, conservation and agricultural programs.
This looks like a comeback year for the state's valencia orange harvest. A crop forecast issued yesterday shows production rising 45 percent compared to last season, when a damaging freeze reduced orange production. In fact, the projected yields from valencia orange groves would be the second largest of the past decade. Valencia orange harvest has started, and farmers continue to harvest navel oranges and mandarins.
Prices will be up … but still down … for California dairy farmers next month. The state Department of Food and Agriculture says farmers will earn an average of $1.72 a gallon for milk as of April 1st. That's up about 10 cents a gallon from current prices. But farmers will still be earning 30 cents a gallon less than they did in December. The state agency adjusted the on-farm milk price based on rising markets for cheese and butter.Top