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» October 20, 2008 «
Sugar beet production in California declined by more than 33 percent this year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. The processing plant at Mendota in Fresno County has closed, eliminating the need for sugar beets. Total sugar beet acreage in California declined by 25 percent this year. The only sugar beets now being planted are in Imperial County, where the Brawley processing plant is still operating. The California Sugar Beet Growers Association says that sector of farming is being phased out.
Southern California wildfires have destroyed homes and property, but have thus far spared most farmland. And the fires are nearly under control. The exception is in San Diego County, where the Camp Pendleton fire damaged some structures that protect plants from cold temperatures and about half an acre of crops. Wildfires in Los Angeles County charred residential properties, and in Ventura County damaged brush on vacant land, but no farmland. Cattle rangeland was also spared.
Organic milk sales continue to increase in California. The state Department of Food and Agriculture says total sales increased nearly 13 percent from August 2007. Consumers seem to like whole organic milk best, as its sales climbed just over 25 percent, while sales of fat-free milk increased just over 15 percent. Nearly 3 million gallons of organic milk were sold in August, the most recent month for which total sales numbers are available.
An agreement between the United States and Mexico to control the Asian citrus psyllid has members of a psyllid-fighting task force in California optimistic. Insect populations in San Diego County have been reduced somewhat; however, three suspect insects have been found in Imperial County. Expanded trapping and treatments have started pending positive identification of the insects. Thus far none of the Asian citrus psyllids have been detected in commercial orchards.Top