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» April 1, 2008 «
There will be a lot more wheat, but a lot less cotton, planted on California farms this spring … according to a new report. Crop forecasters reported yesterday (Monday) that the state's farmers plan sharply increased plantings of several grain crops, led by rises in wheat, barley and oat acreage. Demand and prices for many grains have jumped in recent months. On the other hand, the report says California cotton acreage could drop nearly 40 percent.
The amount of farm and ranch acreage certified for organic production continues to rise. California Certified Organic Farmers reports it has surpassed the half-million-acre mark in its certification program. Much of the new organic acreage serves as pasture. The group says it has seen rapid growth in certified organic dairies and livestock operations. Fastest growth among organic crop acreage includes oats, rice, grapes and wheat.
Saying, "We need a Farm Bill, and we need it now," farm groups want Congress to finalize work on a multi-year rewrite of federal farm programs. Congress returns to work this week facing an April 18th deadline before the current Farm Bill expires. The bill authorizes a number of nutritional and conservation programs, as well as crop programs. A California Farm Bureau spokesman said he's hopeful that lawmakers will put their differences aside and reach an agreement soon.
The great majority of milk and dairy foods produced in the United States are sold domestically, but a new analysis says foreign customers may become increasingly important for dairy producers. The report from Rabobank notes a sharp increase in U.S. dairy exports last year, and says foreign demand for dairy products may rise faster than domestic demand. Milk and dairy products rank third among California farm exports, behind only almonds and wine.Top