Food & Farm News
August 26, 2015
Drought changes landscaping
A combination of the drought and recovery in construction activity has brought an upswing in business for commercial and residential landscapers. People in the landscaping business say construction projects that had been planned before the recession are now being revived, and that many existing businesses and homeowners have been converting to drought-tolerant landscaping. A leader of a landscaping organization says California property owners have been “hyper-focused on the drought.”
ATVs prove tempting to thieves
Rural-crime deputies report an uptick in thefts of all-terrain vehicles from farms and ranches. Thefts of ATVs, tractors and other farm equipment cost California farmers and ranchers hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses each year. Detectives encourage farmers to secure equipment in a locked location, mark it with an “owner-applied number” for identification, and register offroad vehicles with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
UC scientists unlock barley genome
After 15 years of work, scientists report they’ve made significant progress in sequencing the barley genome. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, say the work will help plant breeders produce barley with traits that improve crop quality or help the plant resist disease. The scientists say their progress could also help to complete the sequencing of the wheat genome, because barley is a close relative of wheat.
Better supply-demand balance helps prune growers
A balance between supply and demand has brought better times for California prune growers. The state’s prune acreage has decreased by about one-third during the past decade, reducing what had been an oversupply of fruit on the market. The California Dried Plum Board says ongoing research about the health benefits of prunes has benefited demand. So has a program encouraging bakeries to use pureed prunes as an ingredient for creating lower-fat baked goods.