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» February 15, 2005 «
The leftovers from food-processing plants could be classified as industrial waste, under a proposal to be examined today (Tuesday). For years, some farmers have used leftover peach pits, tomato skins and other food-processing by-products as fertilizer. That procedure has been jeopardized by a plan to regulate the by-products as industrial waste. Water regulators say the leftovers could affect groundwater. The state Senate Agriculture Committee will hear testimony on the issue.
Hard times in Ecuador have affected California flower growers. After farm bankruptcies in Ecuador, banks took over most of the nation's flower farms. The California Cut Flower Commission says Ecuadorian bank managers have been selling flowers from the foreclosed farms at prices below production costs. That would violate trade laws. Farmers in both California and Colombia are considering unfair-trade complaints against Ecuador.
Despite additional rain in Southern California, strawberry production continues to improve. The California Strawberry Commission says production may top 10 million pounds this week ... for the first time this year. Some farmers picked as much fruit as possible late last week, to beat expected rains. The commission says weekend rain did damage some berries in Orange and San Diego counties. But it says Ventura County, which suffered worst from January storms, was largely spared.
It will take several years for the Colorado River Basin to recover from a lengthy drought, but water watchers say that recovery may be starting this winter. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation forecasts average runoff for the basin this year. It says the level of Lake Powell may rise as much as 30 feet, although the reservoir would remain far from full. Water from the Colorado is a key resource for Southern California farms and cities.Top