Food & Farm News
August 28, 2013
Rim Fire kills cattle, destroys timber
As firefighters work to slow the Rim Fire in the Sierra Nevada, ranchers and timberland owners try to assess the extent of their losses. Cattle ranchers rescued as many of their animals as possible, but know that some perished in the flames. The fire also destroyed grazing lands, and the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau is organizing efforts to provide hay for cattle and other displaced livestock. Thousands of acres of timberland have also burned.
Water supplies grow more uncertain
Throughout California this summer, farmers say they're trying to bring their crops to harvest with the reduced amounts of water available—and that they worry about what will happen next year if the state experiences another dry winter. Both surface reservoirs and underground water supplies have become depleted in much of the state. Farmers say they're practicing strict water conservation but that supplies have become more uncertain while water costs have risen.
Thieves steal avocados by the truckload
Theft of avocados has been a chronic problem, but now thieves have escalated their activity by stealing entire truckloads of fruit. In the past month, packinghouses in San Diego and Ventura counties have reported loads of avocados being stolen. The truckloads of fruit were picked up by drivers who appeared legitimate, but the avocados never reached their intended destinations. Similar thefts have also plagued walnut and pistachio shippers.
Nutrition standards affect school lunches
School lunches now contain more fruits and vegetables. But will kids eat them? It appears they may, according to a new report from the U.S. Agriculture Department. The study says students in schools that offered greater quantities of fruits and vegetables consumed more of the foods—although many students still ate none. The USDA issued new, more specific nutrition standards for school lunches that took effect during the last school year.