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» May 9, 2008 «
Analysts say the federal Farm Bill agreed upon yesterday (Thursday) by a congressional conference committee contains a number of provisions that could help California farmers, ranchers and consumers. A California Farm Bureau spokesman says the bill would include more fruits and vegetables in nutrition programs, and enhance research, trade and conservation programs. But the Bush administration has threatened a veto, in part based on the bill's overall cost.
Early observations in California pistachio orchards leave farmers optimistic about their crops. As they survey their trees, farmers say they see a good crop set. Weather during bloom was good, and pistachios generally escaped damage from the frost that hit the state last month. California produces about 96 percent of the nation's pistachio crop, and more acreage is expected to come into production this year.
Restaurants, hotels and other food service customers have been ordering more beets from the farmers who sell to wholesale outlets. Vegetable farmers throughout California raise beets. Many sell them directly at farmers' markets or through "subscription farming" plans that provide boxes of produce to subscribers on a regular basis. The government keeps few statistics on beet production, but the most recent figures show that California farmers harvest about 2,000 acres of beets.
As a way to attract more customers, some California Christmas tree farms may begin offering organically grown trees. The California Christmas Tree Association has suggested that as a method to increase the customer base at choose-and-cut tree farms. Demand for organically grown trees is increasing at retail outlets. The association says choose-and-cut farmers will need three years before their Christmas trees can be certified as organically grown.Top