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» February 28, 2005 «
With imports of Canadian cattle due to resume next week, the U.S. Agriculture Department says a new investigation affirms that the action poses virtually no safety risk. The U.S. stopped accepting Canadian animals after the cattle disease BSE was found there. The USDA said (Friday) its report reaffirms its decision to begin lifting the ban. Farm groups want the department to analyze the impacts more fully before reopening the border.
Winter rains have eased concerns for California ranchers, who say pastures and stockponds show recovery from previous dry years. Abundant grass growth triggered by the rain portends a plentiful food supply for cattle and sheep. That encourages ranchers, who saw pastures deteriorate rapidly at the end of last summer. Ranchers say storms have brought minor damage to fences and roads, and led to erosion of land damaged in previous wildfires.
Restoration of streams and watersheds damaged by this winter's torrential rains will be encouraged by a newly announced federal grant. The money, $1.2 million, will be directed toward stream and watershed restoration in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The federal program aims to restore eroded streambanks and take other actions on private lands, to prevent future threats to people, property and the environment.
Blossoming trees are a sign of spring ... a key point in the production of fruits and nuts ... and, increasingly, a tourist attraction in the Central Valley. Fresno County successfully promotes a Blossom Trail each year, and opened the trail for the season this past weekend. Organizers say the trail promotes tourism in rural areas and draws visitors from throughout the United States and foreign nations.Top