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» October 9, 2008 «
Farm product exports are expected to decline this export year, which started September 1. Exports increased so much last year that growth was not sustainable, but the world economic slowdown will also impact farm exports. The stronger dollar will also make American farm goods more expensive in foreign lands. However, economists say demand for food items in short supply in other countries could moderate the overall export decline.
Sweet potatoes will be available for consumers throughout fall, winter and spring from California fields. Farmers are still harvesting the crop and report quality is good. There has been some damage from wind last spring, but because growers planted more acreage this year than last, overall production is expected to be about the same. Demand for sweet potatoes for frozen french fries and other prepared food continues to increase, which helps to stabilize prices farmers earn.
Inspectors continue to find additional Oriental fruit flies in Lakewood in Los Angeles County. As a result a quarantine established in July has been expanded, but thus far includes only urban areas. Eradication efforts require sticky tape traps attached to utility poles and trees. Previous efforts in other locations have succeeded over time. The invasive pest attacks more than 150 different fruit and vegetable plants. The insect may have hitched a ride into the area on contraband fruit.
Beekeepers are on the lookout for robber bees. Those bees raid hives for honey to take back to their own hives. Robber bee thievery takes place this time of year when flowers dry up and preparations for winter stores are necessary for survival. Beekeepers keep watch on their hives, as there are often fights at the hive entrance as guard bees gang up and kill robber bees. A phenomenon called colony collapse disorder yields opportunities for robber bees as hives are abandoned, often with honey left behind.Top