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» July 15, 2008 «
Dry weather and water-supply cutbacks add up to a busy year for California well drillers. The California Groundwater Association says demand has been particularly heavy in the Central Valley and other agricultural regions. The association says well drillers there have been "swamped" with requests. Farmers hope to tap into underground water to supplement cuts in surface-water irrigation that threaten crops.
Destructive wildfire in Butte County has spared most farms and ranches, so far. The county agricultural commissioner reports fences and some outbuildings have been destroyed. The fire threatened a Christmas tree farm and apple and peach orchards, but crews held the fire lines during the weekend at the Feather River. More than 100 horses were evacuated to the University Farm at Chico State University, which also provided shelter to sheep, goats and llamas.
By the end of the week, shoppers should see California-grown brussels sprouts on the market. Farmers have started harvesting sprouts along California's Central Coast. Growers say the weather has been ideal and the early brussels sprouts feature top quality. The only hitch so far comes from the light brown apple moth, which has been found along the coast. Brussels sprouts farmers must complete extra paperwork to export to Canada as a result.
As acreage of organic rice increases, farmers look for new ways to sell their crops. One Glenn County farmer says he's one of the few to sell rice directly to consumers at farmers' markets. Farmers say weed control becomes the most difficult problem when growing rice organically. The group California Certified Organic Farmers says acreage of rice under its program jumped 49 percent last year.Top