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» May 8, 2008 «
A third straight record crop could be on its way from California almond orchards. A government forecast issued yesterday (Wednesday) predicts a crop of more than 1.4 billion pounds. That would be a 6 percent increase from last year, due mainly to new acreage coming into production. Observers say the almond crop also benefited from near-perfect weather during bloom, and that almond farmers were able to find adequate supplies of bees to pollinate the crop.
Calling it the worst freeze in 30 years, the California Canning Peach Association says the mid-April cold snap ruined 35 percent of the crop in Yuba and Sutter counties. The association says more damage to peaches is showing up as the weather warms, both to fruit and to young trees. Canning-variety peaches in the Modesto area also suffered frost damage, although not as extensive as in the Sacramento Valley.
The nation's largest farm group says both long-term and short-term measures will be needed to address the global food situation. In a letter to Congress yesterday, the American Farm Bureau urged "thoughtful and comprehensive" responses to rising food prices. Farm Bureau said energy costs play a large role in food prices, and urged Congress to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. The group also recommended investment in agricultural research and in food aid.
Innovation will be crucial to U.S. flower growers, according to a new report. Rabobank America says imports from South America have pressured U.S. farmers. Many have responded by shifting to premium flowers such as orchids, lilies or tulips. The report suggests that marketers encourage American consumers to buy more flowers for personal use. Now, most buy flowers for gifts. California leads the nation in flower production.Top