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» October 6, 2008 «
Harvest operations in California peach, plum and nectarine orchards are winding down. That means that fresh fruit will disappear from retail stores over the next few weeks. Farmers faced some challenges this summer. Prices farmers earn dropped in mid-season. Plum growers lost some of their fruit to freezing weather in April. But fruit quality has been excellent. Farmers are using new techniques to send more ripe fruit to market.
Now that the financial bailout bill has become law, how soon it will begin to impact the economy remains unclear. It will take some time for the tightened credit market to loosen. Meantime, small businesses including agricultural operations are struggling to continue operating. With less capital businesses are being more conservative with their purchases, which has a ripple effect on the economy.
California commodity commissions will be able to continue their export enhancement programs following grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Almost $18 million has been provided to 14 California groups representing commodities from almonds to walnuts. The funds are for the Market Access Program, which requires the commodity groups to provide matching funds. The funds are used to increase export demand for California products all over the world.
As the fall quarter begins, there is a new major available to freshmen in the agriculture program at UC Davis. Classes in sustainable agriculture and food systems are available to students. The new major enhances courses that have been available at the UC Davis Student Farm. The university says the new major is a result of student interest. Students will be prepared to be leaders in developing new sustainable farming methods.Top