Food & Farm News
September 5, 2012
Dairy task force to be formed
Noting that California dairy farmers face “profound difficulties,” state Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross has asked 32 farmers, processors and cooperatives to join a California Dairy Future Task Force. The group will seek long-term solutions to help farmers deal with the volatility of the dairy business. Rising feed costs have hit dairy farmers hard, just as milk prices began to recover from the recession.
Walnut harvest should be larger
As walnut growers prepare their orchards for harvest, crop forecasters say the harvest should be larger than last year's. A new crop report estimates California farmers will harvest 470,000 tons of walnuts, up 2 percent from the previous year. If realized, the crop would be the second-largest on record, thanks in part to favorable weather during pollination and the early growing season. Central Valley farmers produce virtually all the walnuts grown in the United States.
Research aims to help pear farmers
Finding enough people to harvest their fruit has been an ongoing concern for pear growers along the North Coast, and research aims to help by using machines to do some of the work. A University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor is testing a mechanical harvester this summer in Lake County pear orchards. Another study uses computers to map the location of fruit in pear trees, to make mechanical harvesting more efficient.
September is National Honey Month
If you're in the market for locally produced honey, California provides plenty of options. As part of its celebration of National Honey Month during September, the National Honey Board provides an online tool to locate California honey producers. California ranks as the second largest producer of honey in the country. The University of California, Davis, invites guests to a bee garden that grows plants that attract bees and other natural pollinators.