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» August 13, 2008 «
Legislators from rural areas of California are hosting a summit today (Wednesday) to draw attention to dangerous fire conditions in the state. The emphasis will be on fire prevention. Firefighters, families impacted by wildfires, members of Congress and local leaders will all participate in the event. Better forest management is one topic to be explored.
After earlier predicting a short raisin crop, a government report now projects an average one. That means lovers of the fruit will find plenty to keep them happy this year. The forecast is 7 percent more fruit than was forecast in July. A frost in April hit some grape growers hard, but raisin-variety grapes suffered minimal damage. Water availability is a concern for farmers in the Fresno area, where most of the state's raisin grapes are grown. Harvest hasn't started, but favorable weather should help the crop mature soon.
Researchers continue to probe honeybee hives, seeking answers to what causes colony collapse disorder. Scientists are studying abandoned hives in an effort to discover why the bees suddenly leave. Researchers suspect there may be more than one cause. Beekeepers have reported losing one-third of their bees throughout the last two years. Bees are needed to pollinate more than 100 fruit, nut and vegetable crops.
California's olive production this year will be about half of what it was last year, according to a government report. The estimate is for 53,000 tons to be picked for canning, with another 12,000 tons for use in oil or specialty products. Despite a smaller harvest, retail stores will continue to offer plenty of California olives and related products because there is a carryover. The question is what the 2009 crop will be like, as there won't be much of a carryover from this season.Top